Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

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Connor MacLeod
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Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-04-19 05:32pm

Well now that I've started Cain, I'll start the Guard ones (at least the novels I have and have read. I have held off on Gunheads for some reason lol) and I don't quite feel like starting Ravenor. Partly becuase I'm deciding whether to do it all as a separate thread, or to pester the mods to lump Eisenhorn/Ravenor and the new Bequin stuff (when I get to it) into one big thread (I AM NOT going to cover Eisenhorn a third time lol.)

the IG novels represent yet another category of glut in the 'stories mostly featuring the Imperium', with the distinction that its not Space Marines (known to comprise over half the glut of BL novels featuring the Imperium. Once in awhile you get an eldar novel, or an Inquistior novel, or something different. But most of the time its SPACE MARINES.) Which is kinda depressing when you think about it - most of the non-Astartes stuff is Gaunt's Ghosts, Cain, and the IG novels, with an occasional other one. none of the other races get nearly as much representation, except as guest characters or adversaries. Admittedly writing a Tyranid centric novel would be difficult (but interesting to try), but you'd think there would be more tau and Eldar novels, becuase there are certainly plenty of those kinds of fans.

The IG series predated the Space Marine Battles novels (and generally wasn't as much of a blatant money sponge) but it follows much that same logic. Basically an IG regiment gets showcased. Overall its a very 'hit or miss' sort of thing, again much like SMB. I'm actually more tolerant of them than I am the Space Marines stuff, because, frankly, I'm biased towards the Guard and I dislike Space Marines. (and yet I read Space Marine onvels. Go figure lol.) The first few I didnt like the first time I read them, (esp 15 hours beacuse of its bleak tone) but I've kind of softened my view over time, as you'll see. The others.. well we'll see as we go along. But don't be surprised if the best is Cadian Blood (because its ADB and his first venture into BL fiction at that, although we get two Steve Parker novels and he is RIGHT up there in quality) because you don't come to this series expecting Abnett. Just keep that in mind and it will be fine.

So the first book in the series was Fifteen Hours, and featured generic IG stuff. The funny thing is there's a prequel short story of sorts featuring the 'main' regiment the Vardan rifles, which I covered in the Bringers of death short story anthology here. My previous coverage of Fifteen hours can also be found old thread for comparison. Fifteen hours is, as the starter of the series, basically a 'introduction' into guards stuff. You go from farm lad to military recruit... but unlike the dreams you might have (like STar Wars of being a hero) the reality is much harsher, bleaker, and generally prone to some sort of bad end. And yet.. with all the bleakness, I do find the story has some positive elements to it, and a redeeming sort of charm in the way its constructed. Tragic yes, but its not all bad. I think its just my general 'grimdark aversion' that makes it difficutl for me to sometimes appreciate a properly bleak story (although I am learning lol.) There is even a bit of absurdity to the whole situation and the story (if a bit grim and bleak), that is actually appealing. 40K does not do nearly enough 'bleak absurdity' like this, one can say.

There is also a short story that was printed in the first IG omnibus that covered that, which I will reprise here. Note that I acutally pulled my page numbers from the solo novel (which I do for most of my IG novels, only letting the short stories come from the omnibusses.) And like most of my 'current' 40k updates oyu get it in one lump sump, but with two separate posts.

Page 16
He had been hit at the base of the spine, the bullet leaving a fist-sized hole at the front of his stomach as it exited his body. Treating his wounds to the best of his medical knowledge had stuffed them with gauze to stem the bleeding and placed dressings over them. Though there were phials of morphia in his Guard-issue med-pack and he had learned the “Prayer of Relief from Torment” by heart, he had no need for them. There was no pain from his wounds — even when his probing fingers had slid past the knuckle into the ragged hole in his stomach he had felt no physical discomfort.

Fist sized hole from ork round through body, and goes as deep as a knuckle (10 cm at least?) Probalby not much differnet form the previous analysis i did.

Page 20-21
..the task of trying to repair the ancient rust-pitted irrigation pump in front of him. Before the sunset had distracted him he had removed the outer access panel to reveal the inner workings of the pump’s motor. Now, in the fading light of twilight, he removed the motor’s burnt-out starter and replaced it with a new one, mindful to say a prayer to the machine spirit inside it as he tightened and re-checked the connections.

Taking a spouted canister from beside the foot of the pump he dribbled a few drops of unguent from it into the workings. Then, satisfied everything was in order, he reached out for the large lever at the side and worked it slowly up and down a dozen times to prime the pump before pressing the ignition stud to start the motor. Abruptly, the pump shuddered into noisy life, the motor whining as it strained to pull water up from aquifers lying deep below the ground.
..Larn pressed the ignition stud again. This time though, the motor stayed sullenly silent. Leaning forward, he carefully inspected the parts of the mechanism once more — checking the connections for corrosion, making sure the moving parts were well-lubricated and free from grit, searching for broken wires or worn components — all the things the mechanician-acolyte in Ferrusville had warned them about the last time the pump was serviced.

The infamous 'pump repair scene'. This is mainly interesting because while there is certainly an element of rote learning to it, it also requires a certain degree of knowledge as well - the corrosion bit that Larn and his family had been 'told' about by the mechanician (not quite a techpriest or enginseer? one of the 'laity'?) I'd ultimately chalk it up as an example of the sort of 'practical knowledge' people pick up over the course of things simply because you can't always rely on the AdMech being around to hold your hand on everything. Like with the Necromundan underhive (except still acknowledign the dogma), or the way some Guard types can modify vehicles and equipment unoffiically (assuming they don't get caught.) there is a certain bit of 'unofficial' knowledge that can just creep in, which means there are limits to just how much you cna push the 'ignorant peasant' stereotype throughout the entire Imperium.

Page 21
..Without the irrigation system to fall back upon, a couple of dry weeks now could mean the difference between feast and famine for an entire year.
..Larn realised his reasons for wanting to see it repaired went far beyond such practical considerations. Like it or not, tomorrow he would be leaving the farm forever and saying farewell to the only land and life he had ever known, never to return. He understood now that he had felt the need to perform some last act of service to those he would be leaving behind. He had wanted to complete some final labour on their behalf. An act of penance almost, to give closure to his grief.

kind of a symbolic thing for Larn, as this is his last day before becoming a guardsman, sort of a way to 'leave his mark' and try to take care of them one last time. not being able to do it has grim implications (but in this book that is par for the course, and perhaps one of the least grim things to happen to the poor boy.)

Page 23
..find his parents sitting in the kitchen waiting for him, the black-edged parchment of the induction notice lying mutely on the table between them. From the first it had been obvious they had both been crying, their eyes red and raw from grief. He had not needed to ask them the reason for their tears. Their expressions, and the Imperial eagle embossed on the surface of the parchment, had said it all.

As i said, it's not the worst thing that can happen to him. But still it carries its own sort of weight. its natural and understandable that parents, even devoted, godly types - would still grieve for losing a child in this manner, and it is, for all intents and purposes, a death. they may not know he dies, but it is unlikely (at least per this book) he'd ever return home, so he's as good as dead (or at least, gone from their lives.) And that's a horrible thing for a parent.

what's more is its a simple and mundane type of 'grimdark' - which in my mind makes it effective because of the human element. Its a pain/horror you can relate to on some level.

Page 23
In accordance with Imperial Law and the powers of his Office, your Governor has decreed two new regiments of the Imperial Guard are to be raised from among his people. Furthermore, he has ordered those conscripted to these new regiments are to be assembled with all due haste, so that they may begin their training without delay...

As we learn later they have a PDF, so why are they recruiting from the populace? Is the military situation so dire they have to go through the effort of conscripting and training civilians? Are there no hive worlds where they can just snatch up a shitload of gangers? Or what?

Honestly this book is a bit like IA bokos in that respect - logic won't neccesarily prevail here, so you just kinda have to roll with it even if things don't make sense (and alot won't.)

Page 24
Facing her in uncomfortable silence, Larn realised how hard it was for her to speak at all now she knew she would be losing him tomorrow. It lent their every word a deeper meaning, making even the most simple of conversations difficult while with every instant there was the threat that a single ill-chosen word might release the painful tide of grief welling up inside her.

Again that whole 'losing a child' angle has a greater weight behind it for being what it is, at least as far as I view these things.

Page 27
"...when he came of age at seventeen. Then he heard the news he’d been conscripted into the Guard and everything changed."

Larn gets conscirpted in at 17 as well.

Page 27
"He knew there was a heavy burden that goes with being a Guardsman — a burden worse than the threat of danger or the fear of dying alone and in pain under some cold and distant sun. A burden of loss. The kind of loss that comes when a man knows he is leaving his home forever. It’s a burden every Guardsman carries. The burden of knowing that no matter how long he lives he will never see his friends, his family, or even his homeworld again. A Guardsman never returns, Arvie. The best he can hope for, if he survives long enough and serves his Emperor well, is to be allowed to retire and settle a new world somewhere, out among the stars. "

Again, the whole 'leave home and never return' angle to the IG. This is something that is more of a holdover from earlier fluff, as we know of lots of examples where this isn't quite true. Back in earlier fluff it was inferred that each world was more isolated and alone, and thus the idea of replenishment from home by recruits (or of returning home) was supposed tob e impossible/impractical. In the 'modern' scheme of things, where sectors have arisen as self-sufficient 'islands' of humanity scattered across the galaxy, the idea of returning home if you serve within the sector is alot more plausible, so 'never returning home' is no longer an absolute (EG the Sameter regiments in the short story where Eisenhorn loses his hand.)

As it is, for the purpose of this story, there's no going back for Larn.

Page 28
" his time as a Guardsman your great-grandfather saw more than his fair share of wonders and horrors. He saw worlds where billions of people lived right on top of each other like insects in giant towers, never able to breathe clean air or see the sun."
"Five years become ten. Ten became fifteen. Fifteen became twenty. And still your great-grandfather followed his orders without thought of complaint, never once asking when he would be released from service. Until at last, nearly thirty years after he’d first been conscripted...
"By then he’d seen dozens of different planets, and at first sight Jumael didn’t seem to have anything much to recommend it more than most."

The time of service has varied too. In some places its only ten years (then you get to colonize) in others it might be a generation. Some may continue serving on, their children being raised and trained within the regiment (fraternization and families IIRC were enocuraged in such cases.) Again its one of those things that has grown into a 'case by case' basis, much like with regimental size, training and equipping, and so on.

Still it shows release IS possible and we learn of one way. Also he discusses the things he's seen, which also included mention of desert and ice worlds, titans, space marines, and so on.

Also dozens of different planets in a couple of decades implies one planet per year, which is quite a bit of trucking around for a Guard force when you think about it. It also stands in contrast to the Vardans Larn and we meet later...

Page 28-29
"His regiment had just finished a long campaign, and they had been sent to Jumael to rest up and recuperate for a month before being shipped out to war once more."
"Oh, he tried to put a brave face on it, never complaining. But he was getting old, and the wounds he’d sustained in thirty years of battles were starting to take their toll. Worst of all was his lungs.."
"Emperor’s Day was coming, and with it the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of their regiment. As an act of celebration it was decreed that lots would be drawn from among all the men, and whichever man won would be released from service and allowed to remain behind when the regiment left Jumael."

They actually let the Guard have R&R between missions. AMAZING. Also one of the means of release is a lottery. As we know another way is being put into a conquest force and allowed to conquer and colonize a planet for the Imperium.

Page 29
"A man from the same squad as your great-grandfather, who’d fought by his side through thirty years of campaigning. Though that man could’ve just taken his ticket and walked away, he didn’t. Instead, he looked at your greatgrandfather with his worn-out face and half-healed lungs and handed him the ticket."
"And that’s how your great-grandfather came to settle on Jumael IV, through the kindness and self-sacrifice of a comrade. "

"He [Grandfather] would say sometimes the hand of the Emperor can be seen in the smallest of things, and that it was the Emperor who had decided to work through this man to save his life. In the end it was a miracle of sorts. A quiet miracle, perhaps, but a miracle all the same.”

Nice and uplifting huh? Well don't expect that to last. This book has a way of twisting the upbeat in perverse ways, and this will be one of those things. Just wait.

Page 32
So far today, like each of the sixty days before it, Ferres had had them running training exercises since dawn. Marching, weapons drill, kit inspection, hand-to-hand training, basic survival skills: every day was a never-ending series of challenges and tests. Larn felt he had learnt more in the last two months than he had in his entire life.
Over the last two months the sergeant had repeatedly shown an inclination to hand out draconian punishments for even the most minor infractions. Having been on the receiving end of such punishments more than once already, Larn had learned to dread the sergeant and his idea of discipline.

IG training over two months. Since its grimdark IG training, that means its harsh and brutal and the sergeant is a tyrannical asshole. BEcause its the Guard and such.

Page 33-34
“And if, because he has failed in his duty to keep his lasgun clean, the Guardsman finds his weapon jams in the heat of battle and he cannot fix it?”
“He should fix his bayonet to the mounting lugs on his lasgun’s flash suppressor, sergeant, and use it to defend himself,”
“In the heat of combat? With the enemy right on top of him? What if he doesn’t have time to fix his bayonet, Leden?”

“Then, he should use his lasgun as a club, sergeant.”
“He should hold his lasgun horizontally with his hands widely spaced as though it were a short-staff and strike the enemy with the butt.”

Probably a good indiactor of how the IG train their troops for close quarters combat, unless they're using entrenching tools (later on.) I guess you can't always rely on a bayonet charge.

The interesting thing about the context was they implied that keeping your weapon clean and available for ranged combat was desired and preferred for the Guard, and close quarters was baiscally 'last choice.' Which makes sense, given how fragile the Guard can be against everything else they face. (Like ORks, Tyranids, CSM...)

Page 35
...he checked the safety before inspecting the rest of the gun in turn. Sights, barrel, stock, holding lugs....

Larns lasgun seems to have sights of some kind.

Page 35-36
“I will obey orders, sergeant. I will follow the chain of command. I will fight the Emperor’s enemies. And I will die for my Emperor, if He so wills it.”

“What are your rights as a member of the Imperial Guard?”

“I have no rights, sergeant. The Guardsman willingly forfeits his rights in return for the glory of fighting for the just cause of our Immortal Emperor.”

“And why does the Guardsman willingly forfeit his rights?”

“He forfeits them to better serve the Emperor, sergeant. The Guardsman has no need of rights — not when he is guided by the infinite wisdom of the Emperor and, through Him, by the divinely ordained command structure of the Imperial Guard.”

“And if you should meet a man who tells you this things are wrong, Larn? If you should meet a man who claims the Guard’s command structure sometimes makes mistakes and needlessly wastes the lives of the men under its command?”

“Then I will kill him, sergeant. That is the only way to treat with traitors and dissenters.”

“Hnn. And if you should hear a man spout heresy, Larn, how will you persuade him of the error of his ways?”
“I will kill him, sergeant. That is the only way to treat with the heretic.”

“And if you should meet the xenos?”

“I will kill it, sergeant. That is the only way to treat with the xenos!”

Like in the uplifting Primer IIRC, the IG technically have no rights, which in a way means they're a form of slave labour (which is hardly unusual in the Imperium. Amazing they admit they MIGHT have any rights other than 'work and die for the Emperor, peon!' Its supposed to be grimdark, after all.)

And we get our introduction to another one of those absurd, grimdark running themes through this book: IG HIGH COMMAND IS NEVER WRONG, NO MATTER HOW STUPID THE DECISION SEEMS. Indeed, Broucherac is chock full of examples of this lunacy, which is supposed ot represent a contrast betwene 'theory' and 'reality' in the Guard (EG the high command acts/thinks one way, and the line troops think/act another.)

Oh and IG have no rights, niot even to think (another 'thoery/reality' thing :P)

Page 37
Two thousand green and unproven recruits, sent for basic training at this staging post before they left Jumael IV for good. Two thousand would-be Guardsmen..

Size of the Jumael regiment.

Page 37
"Unlike the rest of us, I hear he was regular PDF back before he got drafted. He’s probably the only man in this entire regiment who knows anything about soldiering."

see Jumael has a PDF. So unless it was already depleted, why did they not tithe off them? At the very least hat would have saved them a great deal of time in the training department.

Page 38
..Hallan, the squad medic, from nearby as he busied himself putting a dressing on Leden’s damaged nose.

There is a squad medic.

Page 38
Following the direction of Jenks’ nod, Larn looked over to see Vorrans — the fifth member of their fireteam

Interesting, because fire teams appear thorughout the novel, but according to other novels (like Cain, whre fireteams show up) they're actually an unofficial thing. But here it seems to be an offical thing.. so.. go figure. Squads aren't the smallest unit :P

Page 39
“Though I was right enough about this slop. Back home we wouldn’t have fed this to the grox. Still it fills a hole, I suppose.”

“Fills a hole is right,” Jenks said, pulling a spoon from his mess kit and using it to prod suspiciously at the sticky grey stew in his own mess tray. “You should keep back some of this and take it into battle with you, Hals.
“What amazes me,” said Vorrans, “is here we are, surrounded by wheat fields on every side in one of the most productive farming regions on the entire planet. Yet, every day, instead of giving us real food they give us this reconstituted swill. If you ask me, it makes no sense.”

“Well, that’s your mistake right there, Vors,” Jenks said. “Asking questions. Don’t you remember the big speech Colonel Stronhim gave us on the first day of induction?”

Since its a grimdark IG novel, that means that a agri world full of wheat and normal food is denied to the Guard, who get to eat gray slop. Because it sthe Guard and... GRIMDARK. And this is STILL no the worst it can get.

Page 39
“In the months and years to come you will find yourselves assailed by a thousand questions every time you are dispatched to a new theatre of operations. You will ask yourselves where you are going, how long will it take to get there, what will the conditions be like when you arrive. You must put such things from your mind. The Guard’s divinely ordained command structure will tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it. Always remember, there is no place in a Guardsman’s mind for questions. Only obedience!”

Speech given to recruits by the Colonel. It becomes a running theme through this book as I said - never question your superiors they're always right, etc. etc. You can literally run a drinking game to 'divinely ordained command structure'. It gets about as annoying as 'wet leopard growls' do for Space Wolves.

Page 41-42
“Though given the vagaries of warp travel and the relativity of time in the Empyrean, you should understand that giving anything even resembling a definite answer in this regard is entirely out of the question. Furthermore, there is always the possibility that what may seem like three weeks to us may prove to have been a somewhat longer period once we emerge from the warp. As I say, time is relative in the Empyrean.”

The officer droned on, his sentences strewn with terms like “trans-temporal fluidity”, “real-space eddies”, and a dozen other similarly indecipherable phrases.
Two months had gone by since the day he had first passed muster on the parade ground, and for the last four weeks of that period Larn’s regiment had been billeted on an Imperial troopship en route to what promised to be their first campaign. Four weeks, and today at last their superiors had finally decided to tell them where in hell it was they would be going.

2 more months I think, we're told about a total of four months, with close to 2 months (closer to 3) in transit. So four months of training and two months of travel (7 weeks as per the back of Fifteen hours the novel.) We dont know the distance though.

Also the whole time dilation thingy. '

Page 42-43
Even travelling through the depths of the void, Sergeant Ferres had not let up on them. If anything, Ferres’ daily training regime since they had left their homeworld was harder than it had been back on Jumael IV, the only difference being they did their training now in one of the troopship’s loading bays...
...Ferres had had them running training exercises from breakfast to lights out.

Training schedule onboard ship.

Page 42
They had been on the troopship nearly a month now, jumping in and out of the Immaterium for a few days’ warp travel here, a few days there. Each time, during every night they spent in the warp, Larn had been troubled by terrible nightmares. In his dreams he saw alien landscapes populated with strange and horrific creatures...
Warp sickness, the ship apothecary had called it when half of the regiment had reported for sick duty after their first night in the warp. You will get used to it in time.

Larn knew that in order to acclimatise their body clocks to the thirty-hour day/night cycle of their destination world, the light-cycle in the parts of the ship inhabited by his regiment had been altered accordingly.

At least a month onboard ship at this point., and the whole warp sickness thing, and acclimistisation to a new planet's time cycles.

Oh and the pattenr of warp jumps.. few days at a time, making lots of small jumps. Assuming a few ays from system to system, assuming 10-20 LY apiece, we're talking 1200-1800c at least, maybe twice that, for 2-3 days.

Page 48
Resuming his task with a weary sigh, as he typed the new set of coordinates into the cogitator...
A world whose only industry of note resided in a single enormous Administratum complex the size of a city — one of many thousands of such complexes the Administratum maintained across the galaxy. Lacking other prospects, like his parents before him Erasmos Ng had entered Imperial service, becoming just another small cog in the vast bureaucratic machine responsible for the functioning — smooth or otherwise — of the entire Imperium. A selfless and noble calling, or so they told him. Though, as with so much else he had been told in his life, he no longer believed it.

An Administratum functionary, being ground down by bureaucratic drudgery. He crosses on larn's life by committing the error that commits him to the wrong warzone (told you things can get worse.)

"one of thousands" implies that this may be some sort of sector level thing, or there is at least one such place per sector (whether it serves a purpose or not is up for debate) although this is not certain.

Page 48
Now, at the age of forty-five and with thirty years of mind-numbing tedium behind him Ng knew he had risen as far in the Administratum hierarchy as he was likely to go.
His appointed task: to type into the cogitator the never-ending series of numbers spoken to him by the disembodied voice over his earpiece. A task he performed seven days a week, twelve hours a day, barring two permitted fifteen-minute rest-breaks, a full half-hour for his midday meal, and a single day’s unpaid holiday every year on Emperor’s Day.

Beaten down by the bleak dreariness of his existence, Erasmos Ng found he had long ago stopped caring what purpose his labours served.

He is (in his own words) a records clerk. An indication of his work schedule (84 hour work weeks) which is extreme, but amazing he gets any rest breaks, time for meals, or even a single day of vacation (what is anyone going to do given the usual grimdark crap, besides sleep ant eat.) At least they have the potential to get a full night's rest...

Also started work at 15. Apparently work laws are not very well enforced in the Imperium.

Page 51
Magnified by the enhancement devices cunningly hidden in the transparent surface of the forward viewing portal the planet looked huge and foreboding...

Troop transport has viewing port magnification stuff, not unlike the ones in the Rennie BFG novels aboard the Macharius.

Page 52
His ship, Inevitable Victory, had been en route with escorts and another thirty troopships to the Seltura system when they had received orders to break convoy and proceed here alone. It had been only a small detour requiring no more than a four hour jump through the warp, but the precise nature of the mission they had come here to perform was enough to have the Victory’s captain grinding his teeth in frustration.

A single company, thought Strell. Why in the name of the Divine would Naval Operations Command divert an entire starship just to drop a single company of Imperial Guardsmen on some backwater, Emperor-forsaken world?

Troop transport convoy (note the escorts) with 31 troop ships. A 4 hour jump through the warp to make the detour to Broucheroc, due to the aformentioned administrative error. Assuming 4 hours between systems (call it 10 LY) we'd be talking ~22,000c

Also an indication that Broucherac is a 'backwater' and generally unimportant world, which is repeated throughout.

"Naval Operations command" semes to be tied to the Administrative facility where the error originates as well, which again hints at that 'sector' organization thing

Page 53
It is like they used to teach us in the scholarium.
“Ours is not to reason why.”
“Ours is but to do and die.”

More of that 'theme' crap. The Captain, like every other good soldier in this book, is told to never question the DIVINE MIILITARY STRUCTURE .:P

Page 54-55
“You shall know no reward other than the Emperor’s satisfaction!” the vox-caster continued. “You shall know no truth other than that which the servants of your Emperor tell you!”

“The mind of the Guardsman has no place for questions,” the vox-caster screamed unnervingly. “Doubt is a vile cancer whose symptoms are cowardice and fear, steel yourself against it. There is room for but three things in the mind of the Guardsman: obedience, duty, and love of the Emperor.”

More of the 'DIVINELY ORDAINED MILITARY STRUCTURE' crap, because you know, freethinking is bad.

That said, and despite the silliness, with the whole nature of the warp thing, this sort of indoctrination can serve an important purpose - given that thoughts and emotions can influence the warp, the ability to shape and control emotions can become an asset. We've seen it with fanatical Imperial zealots of all stripes - REdemptionists like KEira from the Dark HEresy novels are a prime example, but so are the Sisters of Battle. Imparting even a measure of that to the Guard can have some benefits as well (psychic shit and such.) Which probably also explain sall the prayers and litanies as well.

All that enforced indoctrination has the cost of dehumanising your troops (EG Meat Droids of Krieg, who we meet in Dead Men Walking) and taking away from those human aspects (although the human aspects have their own drawbacks where the Warp is concerned - the cracks it can put in faith for example.) There's a real balancing act there. On top of that, humans being humans, they tend not to willingly fall into nice neat pigeonholes - which is another theme of this book (That whole 'theory vs reality' thing again.) It's hard to make people fearless without making them Space Marines.

Overall I can see a reason for it (even if most people never think that far ahead) much the same way you can rationalize the AdMech silliness, but I'm not sure if the benefits it might result in are worth the cost. I mean, what I just described is sorta like the idea behind the Hydra Plot from the Inquisition War novels. Or the Tau's Greater Good...

Page 55-56
As Larn rushed towards the lander with the others he found himself in awe to be approaching so enormous a vehicle. It looks like it could hold a couple of thousand men at least, he thought. Not to mention tanks and artillery besides. For the first time he truly appreciated the extraordinary scale of the troopship he had been travelling within for the last twenty-nine days. Sweet Emperor, he thought in amazement, to think they say this ship carries twenty such landers!

Again a month in transit, and the size of the lander/dropship - carries a whole regiment, plus vehicles. And the transport can carry at least 40,000 troops (20x 2000 transports), depending on whether or not it has enough landers to deploy its whole force with the transports it has or not.

Still with 31 transports and at least 40K troops apiece thats over 1.2 million troops.

Page 56
Running up the ramp into the cavernous and dimly lit interior of the lander itself, Larn and the others found a grim-faced member of the lander’s crew waiting to point them in the direction of a nearby stairwell. Then, following the stairwell to its summit, they came to the vast rows and aisles of seats of the lander’s upper troop-deck.

“Find a seat and fasten your restraints.”
“I want you seated together in fireteam, section, and platoon order."

Inside the troop ship. It has no AG.

Also fireteam,s ection, platoon. I believe section is another word for squad, or a variation of squad anyhow.

Page 57
Despite the fact that the lander was built to house a minimum of two thousand men, there was at most a single company of men inside it.
Why would they only put only two hundred men on board, when this lander can hold ten times that?

Again lander can house a 'minimum of 2000'

Page 59
“Atmospheric entry in T minus five seconds. Two. One. Atmospheric entry achieved."

5 seconds from atmosphere.

Page 60
"It makes you thank the Emperor for whoever first made heat shields.”

“Heat shields reading normal,” said the servitor, gears whirring inside it as it mistook the comment for a question. “Exterior temperature within permitted operational thresholds. All systems reading normal.”

Lander uses heat shields to permit atmospheric entry and exit.

Page 60-61
“Beacon signal reading strong and clear,” Zil replied. “No air traffic, friendly or hostile. Looks like we’ve got the sky to ourselves. Wait! Auspex is reading some—”

“Registering hostile missile launch from ground-based battery. Recommend evasive manoeuvres. Missile trajectory eight seven degrees zero three minutes, airspeed six hundred knots. Warning! Registering second missile launch. Missile trajectory—”

“Evasive manoeuvres confirmed!” the pilot said, pressing his control stick forward as he pushed the lander into a dive. “Servitor: belay hostile trajectories and airspeeds until further orders. Zil, deploy chaff!”

“Chaff activated. Instruments reading chaff successfully deployed,”


"The chaff, it’s not done any good. It’s as though… Holy Emperor! None of the hostile missiles have guidance systems!”

“I’m reading a thousand hostile missiles as airborne already. And hundreds more are being launched every second."

Ork anti-air defenses. Naturally it makes up for lack of accuracy and guidance by sheer volume. Airspeed works out to 308 m/s. Odd that they think they can reach up that high into the atmmosphere (this happens shortly after entering the atmosphere, so we're talking tens of km), but maybe more time passed than I figured.

Anyhow, the lander has chaff dispensors.

Page 64
"You need to pull the emergency release lever — like this.”

Pulling the lever, Sergeant Ferres shrieked in sudden agony as one of the ramp’s explosive release bolts misfired, a bright tongue of yellow fire bursting from the side of ramp to engulf his face. Screaming, a halo of flame dancing around his head, he stumbled blindly against the assault ramp as the other bolts fired and the ramp fell open behind him.

The theme of this book - nothing ever goes completely right, every Imperial is fucked sooner or later. Anyhow, its the manual release for the lander's hatch.

Page 65-66
...a bleak and barren landscape — a flat treeless vista of frozen grey-black mud...
“They said Seltura-VII was covered in forests. And it’s cold. They said it would be summer.”
A fusillade that seemed to ominously increase in volume with every instant, as the noise of bullets and shells striking the hull on the other side of the lander grew so loud...

It's winter here. and its not where they should be. Also the Orks are firing on the transport from however far they are away.

Page 67
"There’s a tenmetre tall Imperial eagle painted on each side of the hull of the lander."

The lander is at least 10 m tall, which means its at least 40-50 m long (Asusming a height to length ratio of 1:4 or 1:5)

Page 67
“It’s our own lines, all right. If you look closely you can see the outlines of camouflaged bunkers and firing emplacements. That’s where we should be headed.”

“But it’s got to be seven or eight hundred metres away at least, Hals,”

Range they are from friendly lines. Given they imply a km or so away (and the Bringers of Death short story implied more like 1.2 km) it could be that the orks are around 200-500 meters away. OF course they also imply its a mere 800 m later, so it could only be 100 m or less. I kinda doubt the Orks are that close, else they'd be charging long before they acutally did if Larn's company had come down right on the edge of their side.

Page 68
He saw Hallan fall first, his right eye exploding from its socket to make way for the bullet passing though it..

Ork gunfire.

Page 68
Until at last, with most of his comrades dead already and the flag still a hundred metres away, Larn realised he would never make it.
Changing direction to head for them, he saw they had emerged from a firing trench and raced towards it with enemy bullets chewing up the ground around him.

Larn reaches a trench about a hundred metres or so away. subtracting that we might figure that LArn covered only 600-700 meters of the aforementioned 700-800 m distance, which might mean that the 800 metres range from trench to trench is 100-200m.

Page 68
the Guardsmen said, pressing a stud at his collar as Larn realised he was speaking down a comm-link..

The VArdans have comm beads. Remember that this is an unimportant, dead end backwater for all intents and purposes in this story. But they have comm beads. Whereas if this were a Graham MCNeill novel they'd be lucky if they could carry the comms in a bakcpack.

Page 73
There were no forests. It was winter rather than summer. The war here was against orks, not PDF rebels.

They reached the wrong locale. Again its winter. Things just got much worse.

Page 73
“You are on the wrong planet. You are in the wrong system. Not to mention probably the wrong war. Get used to it, new fish. If that is the worst thing that happens to you today, you will have been lucky.”

This is an understatement. And again it underscores the whole 'theme' in this story. I have to admit despite the fact the constant heaping of bad experience and bad experience on the poor guardsmen in this story (which brings back memories of a good chunk of the IA books), there is a sort of perverse absurdity to it that is sort of appealing. The bad shit is just.. so over the top. Like things couldn't get worse, and then they do.

The problem with this book though is that there is this constant feeling that it can't decide whether it wants to be silly/absurd or dramatic/grim, and it seems to flip flop between the two, which sort of detracts from it and pushes it more to the (bad) IA territory. This is not a book that should be taken too seriously, in all honesty, and to 'seriousify' it would require alot of over the top handwaving (for the purposes of my analysis I blame politics, like I always do.)

Page 73
"We are surrounded by ten million orks. And right now some of those orks — maybe only a few thousand or so, if we are lucky — are getting ready to attack us."

Approximate number of orks on planet which wont include gretchin and snotlings and squigs and such (many times that number of the lesser orkoids almost certainly). Sufficed to say the Guard is probably outnumbred given that a single company faces thousands of Ork and Gretchin.

Page 74
Behind him, hidden from his sight when he had first landed by a gentle sloping of the ground, was a series of firing trenches and foxholes. All of them led down towards sandbag emplacements that covered the entrances to a number of underground dugouts set among the shattered husks of buildings at the outskirts of the city.
Larn could see other firing trenches around and to the side of their trench — their parapets cunningly camouflaged to look no different from the countless chunks of crumbling half-buried plascrete and other detritus that lay scattered across this wasteland. From time to time a Guardsman would suddenly emerge from one of the trenches to run half-crouched, zigzagging from one piece of cover to the next until he reached the safety of either another trench or the entrance to one of the dugouts.


Page 74
Then, suddenly, at ground level, perhaps a kilometre away, he saw a brief glimpse of green flesh as its owner stood upright for a split second before abruptly disappearing once more.

One indication of the approximate distances between the trench lines. As noted here the range might be a few hundred metres greater, but later implies it might be a few hundred metres shorter. It could be they're constantly changing trenches, since there are diffrent trenches at different distances.

Page 75
Each of them perhaps a metre tall at most, their stunted green bodies appearing curiously hunched and misshapen inside their rough grey garments.
Until, before he even knew what he was doing, his finger was on the trigger of las-gun at his shoulder as he sighted in on the Xenos.

“Don’t bother, new fish,” Repzik said, laying a hand across his barrel. “Even if you did manage to hit one of the gretch at this range, you would be wasting your ammo. Save it “til later. Save it for the orks.”

In the bringers of Death short story, we're told that the Ork lines would be a low probability of hit for lasguns, which would fit approximatley with what is stated here ('even if you did manage to hit') although the prbabilities are unknown, and Larn has a fairly baisc lasgun. For all we know he's using iron sights and he's not a veteran (or noted for accuracy.)

There's also the cold issue, which as we know from Rebel Winter can reduce range (as can target type.)

It is worth noting that it probably can inflict injury at a km (give or take a few hundred m either way), its just an accuracy issue, so its not an absolute range limit.

Page 75
“Sector Command says auspex is reading a lot of movement in the ork lines,”

Again thy have auspex to track Ork movements.

Page 76-77
...still the ranks of gretchin stood exposed and out in the open on the other side of no-man’s land.
Not for the first time, Larn found himself fighting the urge to take his lasgun and fire at them. To shoot over and over again until every one of the ugly inhuman faces he could see before him had been obliterated.

“It’s an old trick, new fish,” Repzik said. “They’re waiting for us to shoot at them and give away our positions.”

Again it implies that even if the chance to hit is low, they can still potentially hit (and definitely hurt) them at the km (or so) range. And newbie as he is, they are bound to have given him some training in the limits of the lasgun, so he at least evidently belives they're within potential weapons range.

Of course, we know from the BRingers of Death short story that they use suppressive fire on the Ork lines, so it could be that its the range issue is a 'point target vs area target' sort of thing, I mean if theres a horde of orks rushing at you accuracy becomes less important than lethal range.

Page 78
“We hold our fire until they’re three hundred metres away,” Repzik said to Larn. “See that flat grey-black rock over there? That’s your mark. We wait “til the first rank of gretch reach that before we fire.”

Again implying that lasguns have a potential range (for accurate fire) greater than 300 metres against Orks. The fun thing is that again with Rebel Winter, weather (cold) and target nature (orks) can reduce range, and we know from that one that rnage against orks in winter was half what it was normally, so we could infer normal (accurate?) lasgun range is at least 600+ metres for the lasguns involved.

Page 78
Just behind the onrushing gretchin he saw countless numbers of much larger green-skins rise up to join the charge. Each one of them a grotesquely muscled broad-shouldered monster more than two metres tall...

The Greenskins.

Page 79
“Eight hundred metres.” Vidmir said, sighting in on the enemy with the targeter clipped to the side of his lasgun, his calm voice barely audible above the sound of approaching thunder as the greenskins charged ever closer. “Keep yourselves cold and sharp. No firing until they reach the kill zone.”

“Don’t fire until you see the reds of their eyes."
“Six hundred metres.”
"It’s the orks you want to hit. We open up with single shots at first — continuous volley fire."
“Four hundred metres,” Vidmir said. “Prepare to fire.”

The range countdown again, implying that they could have hit much further from 300 m away, probably up to 800 or so metres. Again its that 'accuracy vs lethaltiy' thing, again keeping in mind the other qualifiers (like, again, Rebel Winter. It could suggest at least a km to a mile or so potential range for injury, although possibly not killing.)

Page 79-80
“Three hundred and fifty metres!” Vidmir shouted, while Larn could hear the distant popping sound of mortars being fired behind them. “Three hundred metres! On my mark! Fire!”

In the same instant every Guardsman on the line opened fire...
With it came a sudden flurry of airbursts as dozens of falling mortar and grenade launcher rounds exploded in mid-air in a deadly hail of shrapnel. Then came the blinding flash of lascannon beams, the rat-a-tat crack of autocannons, the flare of frag missiles streaking towards their targets.

lasguns and lots of other weapons open up at 300 or so metres. The mortars seem a bit silly, but the grenade launchers and missile launchers (Frag) having that range is nice to know.

Page 80-81
“One hundred and twenty metres!” he heard Vidmir yell through the din. “Change cells and switch to rapid fire!”

“Shouldn’t we fix bayonets — just in case?”
“If this battle gets to bayonet range we’ve as good as lost it. Now, shut up and start shooting!”

Rapid ifre (full auto?) at 120 metres. Also comment on the fact that letting Orks into melee range is a 'bad idea' for the Guard. Which really puts a sort of amusing spin on the whole trench warfare thing, because for the most part the Guard are purely defensive. Its the Orks who initiate all the attacks, and from Ork perspective, this sort of suicide appraoch is not neccesarily bad (although it would be insane for humans as real life tells us.) But for the human side, given the nature and unimportance of broucherac and its backwater nature (and the apparent absence of vehicle support, air support, naval support..) it probably makes more sense to stay in trenches and massacre the greenskins as they approach.

Page 82
He saw an ork shot point-blank in the face, its feral inhuman features burned away in the blink of an eye by a lasgun on full burst.

Ork face 'burnd away' by lasgun burst. We dont know if it means isngle shot or barrage of shots (probably not more than a second's worth of fire, or possibly the lasgun equivalent of a 3 round burst - although by uplifting primer standards thats basically the same thing.) Assuming 3rd degree burns (50 j per sq cm) and a 20-25cm diameter face we're probably talking approximately 20-30 kj for the 'burst' which might acocunt for any mechanical damage 'headsplosion' 'burning away features' might imply in the head destruction (single double digit KJ could upll that off per shot) Assuming flaying flash burns (400 j per sq cm) we're talking between 160-250 kj. So call it double or triple digit kj for the 'burst'.

Page 82-83
Amazed, Larn saw a battle-scarred sergeant in a grey-black greatcoat stride past him leading a ragtag band of Vardans in a counter-charge against the orks.
While before them orks screamed and died, the sergeant led his men forward...
Larn found himself wondering if one of the long-dead saints of the Imperium had somehow regained human form and now walked among them. The sergeant seemed immortal. Unkillable. Like a hero from the tales they told in the scholarium.

A legend, leading his men to victory.

Chelkar, about the only consistently positive thing about the story, at least from the view of people not Chelkar. Not that it really helps anyone else either, save for being a point of inspriation. He is also, as far as the story goes, the antithesis of DIVINELY ORDAINED CHAIN OF COMMAND.
Guard 'theory' vs Guard 'reality' again.

Page 94
Pulling the slim oblong wooden case of the med-pack he had been issued with on Jumael from his belt, Larn handed it over. Breaking the seals on the box lid the medic slid it open and checked the contents.

“Morphia. Vein clamps. Sterilising fluid. Synth-skin canister. Wherever you’re from they obviously don’t believe in sending their sons under equipped to war."

Contents of Guardsmen's personal medikit. Which seems to be 'well equippd' by Guard (or Broucherac) standards. But Larn has no comm bead. :D

Page 94
“The regulations say—”

“The regulations say a lot of things, new fish."
“Though you can be sure whichever genius wrote them never troubled himself actually finding out if they worked in practice."

Another one of those themes, the 'theory vs practice' I've spoken of so often. The troopers - hardened, experienced veteran troopers (and poorly abused by the high command) don't give a shit about what the upper echelons think or want. The divorce between 'high command' and the guys at the sharp end is a constant bit of absurdity in this book. And its also one of the annoying 'take seriously rather than silly' aspects that can be frustrating in the IA vein.

Page 95-96
"Sadly, we have to make do with a ground-up concoction of local roots and tubers rather than the real thing. Even the Emperor himself would be hard pressed to find any real recaf in this hellhole, and we all know he can work miracles. To give it a bit more kick I mix in a tenth of a dose of powdered stimms which, incidentally, works wonders for the flavour."

Broucherac coffee.

Page 96
"It is not as though this equipment is likely to be of help to its previous owners anymore. While it could mean the difference between life and death for someone still living on the line. It is a simple matter of the fair and logical distribution of resources, new fish. Which, in this case, means that the living get to keep the things the dead no longer have any use for."

A commentary on the relative scarcity of supplies. Again Broucherac is not exactly a well supported conflict.

Page 97
"Along with everything else bionics are in short supply hereabouts. This is a Mark 3 Non-Motive Prosthetic, Left Leg Model. I had to barter the salvaged parts from a knocked-out sentinel for it, never mind what it cost me to get the damned apothecary to fit it."

Even augmetics are rare.

Page 98
"A new greatcoat in urban camouflage pattern would seem as good a place to start as any. It will help you blend in and make you less of a target, not to mention keeping you warm. This time of year it’s cold enough to have a man passing ice cubes every time he voids his bladder."

Again its winter, and its damn cold.

Page 99
Larn found himself the new owner of a greatcoat, a pair of woollen gloves, two frag grenades, a fur-covered helmet, a small lump of whetstone, and a comm-bead tuned to the local comm-link frequencies used by the Vardans.

But no body armour? Or is the greatcoat in this case body armour. But he does get a comm bead.

Page 99
“You will need to come back here and see me again in fifteen hours’ time. Then I can issue you with some of the more valuable and sought-after pieces of equipment: hotshot power packs for your lasgun, extra frag grenades, a laspistol, smoke grenades, and so on.”

So comm beads, according to this, are more plentiful than a laspistol or hotshot packs. And LArn was 'well equipped' with a good medkit, but he had no commbead... thats Munitorum logic for you :P

still its kinda nice they seem to have targeters, hotshot packs and shit on what is an ass-end planet, and plentiful comm beads. Go figure.

Page 99
“I was issued with my copy of the Primer on my first day of basic training back on Jumael.”

"You will find this little book to be a vital tool when it comes to the nitty-gritty of day-to-day living here in Broucheroc. The paper it is printed on is mostabsorbent.”

The uplifting primer is toilet paper. Again what the high command/upper echelons proclaim is not neccesarily taken as fact or truth - unless they are in a position to enforce it. As we learn though, this causes.. problems.

Page 101
Chelkar’s expression was grave. “But remember, part of that duty is for you to keep yourself alive so you can fight again tomorrow. To that end, you will do the following things. You will follow orders. You will keep your eyes and ears open. You will watch your comrades’ backs, just as they will watch yours. But most of all, there will be no heroics. No fool-hardiness. No unnecessary risks.”

Rather different perspective than what the DIVINELY ORDAINED tell a Guardsman his duty is, wouldn't you say? Again even the officers on the line won't neccesarily do what the Rear echelon types insist. Again Chelkar is probably the best thing about this novel, aside from the banter between Davir and his comrades.

Page 106-108
..when they brought him to the dingy basement print room to tell him it would be his task to produce a twice-daily newsletter and propaganda sheet for the edification of the city’s defenders...
A single lander bearing a company’s worth of battlefield replacements had crashed in no-man’s land. Reading it, Delias realised it was exactly what he had been looking for. Granted, the course of events would need a little rewriting. To keep Commissar Valk happy what had been an entirely futile waste of human life would need to become a resounding victory.

The propoganda papers being put out by the rear echelon types which are 'enforced' to tell only good news despite what the reality is. Because apparently the Commissars and higher ups consider telling the truth to be defeatism.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-04-19 05:36pm

and.. Part 2 This includes the short story (I forgot to mention that ) at the end.

Page 109
"Give me a grenade launcher and a couple of phosphorus rounds, and I would have both damn places on fire in no time.”

talking about torching general headquarters. again very un-guardsman like. Also phosphor grenades.

PAge 109
A hulking figure with a thick neck, brawny arms and a broad bearish build, Bulaven was the fireteam’s heavy weapons specialist.

Heavy (or presumably special) weapons specialists (in this case a heavy flamer, meaning he's Bragg big) for the Vardans is per fireteam, not per squad. Which is not surprising givne they are technically vets, but it shows they're pretty well outfitted for vets (what with the hotshot packs and all..)

Page 110
"Besides, even if you could somehow elude the guards, you can be sure that the buildings housing General HQ and Sector Command have both been extensively fireproofed. Not to mention equipped with damage controls systems, blast shields, extinguishing devices, and so forth."

Protective measures (Against fire) of sector HQ and probably other disasters. No void shields though, which fits in with the general scale of 'importance' of the planet to the Greater Imperium, I gather.

Page 111
"As though they ever achieved anything with all their damned orders other than making things ten times worse. You want to know about orders? Ask Repzik. If it hadn’t been for some fool ordering Battery Command to withhold artillery support during the last attack, he’d probably still be alive. For that matter, what about our new friend here? You all saw what happened to that lander earlier. Ask the new fish what he thinks of the orders that sent him halfway across the galaxy just to make landfall on the wrong planet.”

Again the front line troops dont think much of the 'DIVINELY ORDAINED' hierarchy crap. Which really reinforces that IA-aspect. Why are they hauling newly trained conscripts halfway across the galaxy (if we take that literally) to a new conflict... again stuff in this novel is probably not best thought of too deeply or taken too seriously... if only we could acutally do that.

Also implied that Larn may have come from 'halfway across the galaxy' - possible, we dont know for sure or not, but it took ~29 days by Larn's words to get there (or two months, or 7 weeks)
60K LY in 29 days is 755,000c. In one or two months it is 360,000-720,000c. is 446,000c. IF for some reason we take it only as 3-4 weeks we get betwee 780,000-1,020,000c.

Page 111
"You can speak freely. Granted, time was we’d always be getting commissars coming to the line to lead attacks and so forth. Thankfully, our friends the orks soon put paid to that. Any commissar who was crazy enough to want to join a frontline combat unit got himself killed off long ago. The commissars left now tend to be those with a sharper instinct for their own survival. Sharp enough to stay away from the front at any rate."

Alot of things in this book really remind me of the Catachans (in the next book and in their codex/in general.) That independently-minded attitude, threatening of superiors (or killing commisars, which is implied here. although it could mean the orks are killing them, but I wouldnt put it past the VArdans to frag their own idiot officers.) and the rest stay rear echelon. Even the commissars are too stupid to properly fufill their HEROIC EXAMPLE roles.

Page 112
“That dark grey ragged line about eight hundred metres away? That’s the ork lines.”

The ork lines are 800 m away now.

Page 113-114
"You see, the orks don’t follow a centralised command structure as we do. Granted, when their Warbosses are not busy fighting it out amongst each other, they are usually united behind a single Warlord. But when it comes to the disposition of any particular ork sector, the local Warboss is free to do as he wants. And, as it happens, this particular boss seems to have taken a leaf out of our book — ordering his followers to dig camouflaged underground dugouts, foxholes and trenches rather than the usual ostentatious fortress. It could be he is brighter than the usual ork leader. Then again, perhaps he’s just aping our tactics without any kind of clear plan in mind. Really, it can be hard to tell with orks."

Ork military structure. In its own way 'divinely ordained' - at least if we go by Ghazzie on Armageddon. :P

Page 114
“Zeebers isn’t from Vardan?”

“Him? No, as I say, he is a replacement. Joined us about two months ago, give or take.”

The question is, did he come from offplanet like Larn, or was he recruited form Broucherac itself? In any case reinforcements do seem to trickle in sort of.

Page 114-115
"There were three Vardan regiments when we first set down in Broucheroc."
"Something like one hundred and eighty or so Vardans then, left from the more than six thousand men...
" It is a matter of attrition, you see. It’s the same for ever other Guard regiment in this city. Of course, having been on the frontlines so long, we’ve had it worse than most. I doubt there’s a regiment left in this city that is at any more than thirty per cent of its original strength. This is Broucheroc: here, everything is a matter of attrition."

Again ATTRITION and an indication that this is not really a crucial war on the Imperial scale of things. Indeed the whole trench/attirtion warfare aspect may reflect its failure. Its bogged down, stalemated, and in many sources (Tactica Imperialis, etc.) this is often an indicator that the IG has failed in its goals.

Page 116
"In more recent times Broucheroc became a centre for the planet’s promethium industry. Time was when this city was little more than one giant refinery, where crude promethium would be brought from the drilling fields further south to be refined into fuel. Even though the pipelines that brought that crude here were cut long ago, this city is still rich in promethium. Billions of barrels’ worth, stored in massive underground tanks underlying most of the city.”
“Ten years ago, just as we first made landfall here, it looked like the orks
were going to conquer this entire planet. Until they started to run out of fuel for their armour."

The Orks want it for fuel to finish their conquest of the planet. This may also explain why neither side really seems to have vehicles. Although why the Imperium is sitting on billions of barrels of fuel. One metric ton of crude oil is 7.3 barrels, so we're looking at hundreds of millions of tons of oil just sitting around. (GRIMDARK! EVERYTHING IS FUTILE ON BROUCHERAC. EVEN THE OIL INDUSTRY.) Which is acutally its own brand of silliness, given the Imperium's hunger for resources of all kinds including fuel. Hundreds of millions of tons may not be a hugetastic amount on a galactic scale, but its hardly trivial for the Imperium and its not osmething they would have knowingly (willingly) just left sitting there. Hell even if they dont intend to defend the planet or evacuate the troops they'd still probably take the oil (stripping a planet bare like that doesn't but the Administratum.) So.. yeah.. more silly.

Page 117
“Certainly, if you asked General HQ they would tell you the city is on the verge of being relieved. However, seeing as they have been saying the same thing for ten years now, no one much believes them anymore. You will find that here in Broucheroc our commanders tell us a lot of things. That we are winning the war. That the orks are leaderless and on the verge of collapse. That the big breakthrough they have been promising us for the last ten years is finally imminent. You will find that after a while hearing the same old things, day after day after day, you simply learn not to listen. For myself, I suspect that our brother Guardsmen in other parts of this Emperor-forsaken world are in no better shape than we are."

Again that 'theory vs reality' thing. The ones on the sharp end know the truth of matters and basically ignore the delusions of their high command, and more or less do their own thing (although the high command in its ineptitude and ignorance tned to be as much an enemy as the Orks are.)

Again alot like an IA book.

Page 117
“As to why Imperial forces from off-world don’t intervene: I suspect the war here is simply not important enough to justify a full-scale landing. From time to time there are smaller more isolated landings — by a lander say, or a single dropship — but nothing that could be mistaken for anything even resembling a real attempt to break the siege. Sometimes, as in the case of you and your company, these landings turn out to be simple mistakes. Other times, it is as though some distant bureaucrat has finally decided to send us a few more troops or supplies in order to reassure us we have not been forgotten. For the most part, these occasional drops are as pointless and ridiculous as every other aspect of life here in Broucheroc. In the past we have been sent entire pods full of supplies, only to find when we fight our way to them the boxes inside the pods are full of the most useless things imaginable: paperclips, mosquito netting, laxatives, boot laces, and so on.”

“Remember when they sent us an entire drop-pod full of prophylactics?”

Again, reinforcement is a sort of occurance, but not much in the way. The reasons why are an interesting thing to speculate on, given later on. 'politics' seems a good reason, although 'not being important' is also a likely reason (given the overlal theme and stuff.. pointlessness, futility, etc.)

Nice to know the Guard provides laxatives and mosquito netting and condoms to its valiant troops however. :lol:

Page 119
“You must understand that in many ways every marshal and general at headquarters is as much a bureaucrat as the most pedantic scribe in the Administratum. To them war is not just a thing of blood and death, nor entirely a question of tactics and strategy. To them, it is as much as anything a matter of calculation. A calculation based on casualty reports, rates of attrition, the numbers of units in the field, estimates of the enemy’s strength, and so on, all the myriad facts and figures that, together, can be used to establish a mathematics of slaughter. Every day, from all over Broucheroc, these figures are recorded, collated and sent to General Headquarters for the bean counters there to work on them."
“Fifteen hours is the average length of time a replacement Guardsman survives in Broucheroc after he has been posted to a combat unit at the frontlines.”

Again certain parallels to this and Imperial ARmour (most specifically IA5 and their 'mathematical' view of warfare.) can be made. Hell even the timeframes are similar to IA5, and the results. Sufficed to say the upper echoelons are a bunch of brainless idiots and divorced from reality.

Page 123-124
Sure one of the humies’ spotters must have seen him, he tensed, expecting at any moment to feel the pain from a lasbeam or hear the sound of a shot, but neither of them came.
Finally, perhaps halfway across no-man’s land, he reached the lip of a shallow shell crater.
Out of sight now, he moved more quickly, crawling up the opposite slope of the
crater to look through the sights of his blasta in search of a target. At first, nothing. Then he saw a head in a fur-shrouded helmet peeking out of a hole in the ground some way away...

'halfway across' no mans land, and within range of the human lines (and also fearing being hit by the humans, suggesting its possible for their weapons to hit back accurately.) AGain the range could be 400-600 metres going by all the past examples btween the Ork-human lines (800, 1000, 1200 meters.) and its noted later that it might even be shorter - 300 metres. It does suggest lasgun ranges greater than 300 m though.

Also the crater is bigger tan a gretchin - 3-4m across.

Page 124-125
"If you sharpen the blade of your entrenching tool it makes a good weapon if you find yourself in hand-to-hand with an ork. Better than a bayonet, anyway. Of course, you need to be careful you don’t sharpen the edges of the spade head too fine. Otherwise, it can split if you actually have to dig the earth with it.”

Trench warfare, so you need to have entrenching tool weapons.

Page 125
“Does it happen a lot?”
“Going hand-to-hand with the orks, I mean?”

“Not so much if we can help it,” Bulaven said, tapping the imposing bulk of the heavy flamer by his side. “For myself, when it comes to killing orks I prefer to use my friend here. Sometimes though, the orks get in close and it can’t be helped."

Again hand to hand is a bad thing with Orks, and the non-deluded troops on the line avoid getting in close to the Orks if they can (meaning no BAYONET CHARGES across the no mans land. That's for orks.) They prefer to keep it at range and drive them off.

Also Bulaven is using a heavy flamer, which firmly puts them in the 'Bragg' cateogry of heavy weapon troops.

Page 126
“Something just as important as faith. Hope. Davir is wrong about that, you see. A man must have hope, or he might as well not be alive. It is as important as the air we breathe. So, no matter how bad things get, new fish — no matter how bleak they seem — you must remember not to give up hope. Trust me, if you can hold on to your hope, everything will be all right.”

Bulaven is one of those optimist types in this story, although he's treated as a dense, stupid and often mocked person for it (by Davir at least. Scholar, one of the others in the Fire team)

Page 127
Until, indicating a shell crater perhaps three hundred metres away from their trench, Davir’s wolfish smile became a broad grin of delight.
"..nobody told him a sniper’s not supposed to fire twice from the same position.”

As though in response another shot rang out, raising a clod of earth as the bullet struck the ground three metres to the left of the trench.

“Ha! He’s not much a shot either,”

Again the Gretchin sniper and ranges,., this time it s300 metres. Which means the trench lines are now somehow 600 metres away - possibly an indicator that they kepe jumping from trench to trench for some reason, since we know there are all over - or the fucking lip of the trench is some 100-300 metres wide. Final craters IIRC are alot wider (but shallower) than the temporary crater that forms initially, but still that's fucking huve even if it was half or a third the size normally (even at 100 metres, it would be a good 25-50 metres across, which is going to need alot of HE to make in frozen ground.)

Page 128
Then, exhaling slowly, he pulled the trigger, producing a single sharp crack as the lasgun fired.
Abruptly, adjusting the magnification of the field glasses to take a closer look, Larn realised he had been mistaken. What he thought was a rock was in fact the gretchin’s head, the red stain being the contents of the creature’s brains as they oozed through the hole in its ruptured skull and dribbled towards the ground.

Effect of lasgun shot (at 300 or so metres) Implies a headsplosion of some kind - partial if not total, so its probably at least single digit kj. May include some flash burns, but no cauterization. Call it single, maybe double digit kj.

Page 131-132
..carried to the ears of every man in the battery through the comm-beads inside the ear-protectors they wore to protect them from the sound of their guns...

Artillery officers have comm beads so they cna communicate over the noise of guns.

Page 132
..Captain Meran watched the four-man loading teams attached to each gun crew...
A moment later they emerged once more, each loading team gently cradling the shining and deadly weight of a metre long high explosive shell between them.
..Meran watched as the loading teams returned to the stacks to fetch the heavy barrel-sized cylindrical sacks of cordite that served as propellant for the cannons...

4 man loading teams to haul shells, and the Hellbreaker shells are a fucking metre long. Assuming 1/3 to 1/4 length to diameter ratio, we're talking 25-33 cm diameter shells.. which is.. fucking battleship grade. 10-12" guns eaisly. Even if we assumed 1/5th ( a long fucking shell for an earthshaker variant) we're talking 20 cm which is an 8 inch gun.

Asusming a 10 inch naval gun as an example, we're talking 600 m/s and ~200 kg shell or so (which four guys who are brawny *probalby* could carry...) 12 inch is probably too much though - upwards of 400 kg shell or thereaboutes. An 8 inch shell could be around 90-100 kg, so that probably would fit the contet beter.

This would probably need a superheavy platform (Macharius or Baneblade hull) to mount safely, and even then might need some sort of recoil bracing to hold it in place while firing. An eight inch variant could probably be fitted into a Russ Chassis.

And given that its using bagged rather than cased propellant, that is the whole shell in all probability.

Page 134
Under The Eagle, the book’s title read. Glorious Accounts of Valour from the Annals of the Imperial Guard. Larn had heard the book mentioned in basic training. It was a compilation of stirring accounts of the brave actions and past successes of just a few of the many millions of different regiments of the Emperor’s armies.

IG reading mateiral, at least for Scholar - the educated one in the fire team

Page 135
"A centi-credit for your thoughts?”

Credits (and variations of credits) seem to be currency on Broucherac. Which appear common throughout the Imperium :P

Page 135
“Hellbreakers,” said Bulaven distractedly. “A local variant on the Earthshaker, just bigger."

Again 'upscaled Earthshaker variant'. Probably STC, otherwise the AdMech wouldn't be building it. Smaller than the superheavy, nuke equipped Earthwreckers though :P

Page 142
“What? You mean they know they are shooting at us?”
“This is Broucheroc, after all. Here, such snafus are not uncommon. You have heard the expression by now, I take it? Snafu? I tell you: there could be no better term for describing this whole damn war.”
“The cause of these incidents when our own artillery suddenly starts shooting at us, I mean. Old parts wear out, the new ones are incorrectly calibrated, or else they have been recycled and refurbished so many times as to be all but useless."

Apparently the Captain involved with the artillery is under orders to bombard their position believing (because High command believes) it to be overrun by Orks, even though it isn't (and the Vardans even say it isn't.)

Page 143
“And you are right: the Guardsman’s first duty is obedience. But, even granting that you have your orders and it is your duty to obey them, if those orders are mistaken…”

“No, of course, you are right, sir. The divinely ordained command structure of the Imperial Guard precludes any possibility of your orders being mistaken. If I may rephrase myself, however? What I really meant to say, of course, was that perhaps the problem here lies not in the orders themselves, but in the practical aspects of their execution…”

Another pause.

“Oh no, sir. I wasn’t for a moment questioning your competence…”
"No, sir, you are correct. General Headquarters is not known for promoting fools to the rank of captain…”

Vox officer trying to get the bombardment to stop, with the predictable (for this novel) results. The 'divinely ordained command structure' in effect, screwing things up lke usual.

Page 144
"Nor do I care if you report me to the Commissariat. In fact, please feel free to do so: if nothing else, they can serve as pallbearers at your funeral. What you fail to understand is that, even if you have me arrested, there is an entire regiment of men standing around me who are quite prepared to make good on my threat. And, if you think the Commissariat will be willing to arrest an entire frontline combat unit to save you, I think you overestimate your own value to the war effort of this city."

Chelkar again. Again anti-divinely inspired. :P

Page 150-151
I am surrounded by idiots. This whole damned city would seem to be staffed from first to last with idiots, cowards and incompetents.
To go back on that praise so quickly might make him seem indecisive.
It was a matter of maintaining the proper respect for the chain of command. Once the Grand Marshal had given voice to an opinion on a man there could be no turning back.
No matter what, a Grand Marshal can never admit to having made a mistake. He must be seen to be infallible. To give credence to any thought otherwise would be to fatally undermine the rightful awe every Guardsman naturally feels for the wisdom of their superiors.

Basically the guy in charge of Broucherac's war has this idea to punish an idiot officer for being an idiot, but is afraid of being found indeceisive because he praised him accidentally when he wasn't actually paying attention. And he can't admit error. EVER. This is the calibre of commanding officer in charge of this campaign.

Page 151
Of all the men on his staff, Mirovan had always seemed the best and brightest. An exemplary field officer with an admirable record of citations for bravery behind him, Mirovan had made general in a creditably short space of time.
Mirovan had been so insolent in fact that two weeks ago he had even had the temerity to question one of the Grand Marshal’s military decisions during a staff meeting. Enraged, Kerchan had demoted the man on the spot, busting him down to the rank of common trooper and ordering him to be immediately posted to a frontline combat unit. Next, in a hasty decision the Grand Marshal now bitterly regretted, he had promoted the man’s less than able second-in-command...
Though he had felt quite sure humbling Mirovan had been the right thing to do at the time, the Grand Marshal now experienced a troubling sense of ill-defined unease.

Yep. Glorious Leader, in a fit of pique, breaks a competent officer and sends him to the front line and inevitable death.

Page 152
If nothing else, a lifetime spent commanding soldiers had taught him a simple truth. A man with the absolute authority of life-or-death over others should never feel any need to have to apologise for his own behaviour.
Not that I can fault Dushan’s decision-making in that regard, of course. Dissent is a cancer. If I had been in his position, I would have done the same myself.

Context: The competent dude is probably dead because his former subordinate (Dushan) posted him to probable suicide duty, and Glorious Leader decides this is a good thing because his existence after being insolent would promote dissent. And he can never, ever be wrong. Again, DIVINELY INSPIRED.

Page 152-153
Watching them, the Grand Marshal began to understand he had quite inadvertently achieved his original purpose.
Not for the first time, Kerchan was left dazzled by the extent of his own genius when it came to motivating the men under his command. I didn’t even realise I was doing it, he thought. And yet still, by some happy accident, I seem to have created exactly the effect I wanted. No, not an accident. Unconsciously or not, the fact I achieved my aim means I must have intended to do so all along. There are no accidents when one is a Grand Marshal.

DIVINEL- no. He's an idiot. A mad, indecisive, idiot.

Page 154
As the most senior member of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the city Garan was not here as a subordinate.
Not being by inclination a man much given to the subtle intricacies of diplomacy, Kerchan had long found dealing with the haughty Magos to be a difficult burden to bear.

The Admech are of ocurse independent, and our GLORIOUS LEADER is no diplomat. Even better!

Page 154
No replacement power packs. No grenades, mortar rounds, artillery shells, or any of the hundreds of other things the Guardsmen of the city needed daily to help them keep the orks at bay.

Basically in context, no munitions.. which includes replacement powerpacks. Which implies these things may not be all that rechargable here. Non rechargable batteries?

PAge 156-157
They think I have turned into a madman...
The old man is losing it. That is what they are all telling themselves.
Within the hour news of his outburst would be known throughout General Headquarters; by tomorrow it would likely be known across the city. In these trying times even a Grand Marshal must be careful. Whatever the rules and regulations of the Imperial Guard might say to the contrary, as the commanding officer of a besieged city his position was precarious. Idle gossip about the data-slate incident could easily lead to discussions about the state of his mental health; discussions that in turn might undermine his authority, creating fertile soil in which the twin ugly flowers of dissent and mutiny could grow.
It is time for another purge, he thought. Tonight, I will tell Vlin to contact the Commissariat and have them send over a list of anyone above the rank of major they suspect of disloyalty. A few show trials and shootings should nip any problems in the bud in that regard.
Yes, another purge. That is exactly what is needing here.

This guy ealrier comments that his MASTER CALCULATIONS show he should have won the war long ago, and yet he cannot understand how they've spent ten years fighting a losing war. Well we get a good glimpse why - the guy's a madman and an idiot, and so is everyone else in the higher echelons. They're deluded, incompetent... and there's apparently massive politicking and backstabbing involved. Again a strong 'Siege of Vraks' air to this whole conflict. And the GLORIOSU LEADER blames it on defeatism and disloyalty and decides he needs to purge his officers. agai.

Page 158
Based on current estimates of ork birth-rates and the rate of attrition of men and materiel inside the city, it concluded Broucheroc could only survive another six months at most.
I shall have to remember to tell Vlin to add the name of whatever traitor compiled this report to the list as well. Imagine claiming this city has only six months left to live, when any fool knows the siege is on the verge of crumbling and victory is within our grasp.

Again, detached from reality. DEFEATISM must be crushed.

Page 158
Bad enough after a long and glorious career for a man to find himself shunted to a sideshow war on a planet of no importance. Worse, to then he condemned to a long siege with no prospect of relief from other sources.
Soon, I will break this siege and reclaim this planet for the Emperor. And, when I do, the fools among the Lord Generals Militant responsible for sidelining me to this awful place will find themselves embarrassed to see me celebrated and revered for all my victories.

The ironic end to this is that the Marshal sees the self fufilling lies in the propoganda newsletter mentioned earlier (for morale boosting) and believes it as truth, pointing to some self fufilling cycle of denial and detachment from reality that feeds the whole insanity of the situation.

What's more, its rather obvious from the context that there must be massive amounts of politics going on at higher levels governing this war. This madman being exiled to some dead end backwater, with virutally no resupply or support... that smacks of politics. Hell for all we know they're using this place as a dumping ground for the Guard's incompetent officers and leaders that they simply can't shoot outright (again politics.) It's shitty for the people on this fucked up planet but... it's probably the lesser of two evils. Again this place isnot considered all that important in the long term.

Anyhow thats my justificaton for the moronic insanity driving this book since I can't go all thematic in universe, and I'm sticking to it!

Page 163
“They say we must give up our children,” she had told them. “The generals. They say children are a distraction in wartime, that the people of Broucheroc must all serve in the auxiliaries while their children are cared for in the orphanariums. But I don’t believe them. I think they want to give the children over to the Adeptus Mechanicus — the machine-men — so they can train them to be workers in the manufactoriums, the big dangerous making-places."

So we get to our latest dose of grimdark absurdity in this story. THe kid recalling his is living feral, worshipping a rat (CAP'N RAT) whose kids he kills in return for monotheistic worship, because his mom is died.. because she doesn't want the state taking her child away. I have a feeling GLORIOUS LEADER was behind this decision too.

Page 170-171
“The man with the ticket. Your great-grandfather killed him and took his ticket from him. That’s your miracle.”
"There’s your great-grandfather. He’s sick. Ailing. He knows winning the lottery is his only chance of making it out of the Guard alive. Then, when someone else gets the winning ticket, he realises only that one man’s life stands between him and freedom. And he was a soldier. He’d killed before. What is one more life in the grand scale of things, he tells himself. It’s a dog-eat-dog universe, new fish, and it sounds like your great-grandfather was a dirtier dog than most.”
“They’re talking about the name of the man who gave your great-grandfather the ticket, new fish,” Bulaven said with a sigh. “It wasn’t part of the story. And you must be able to see that makes all the difference? I am sorry to tell you this, but that is what proves your great-grandfather killed him.”
“This man is supposed to have saved your greatgrandfather’s life. Your great-grandfather must have known his name. He was a comrade of his, remember? A man who had fought side-by-side with him through thirty years in the Guard? And yet, years later, when your great-grandfather tells the tale to his son he somehow neglects to even mention the name of the man who saved his life? It doesn’t add up, new fish. Especially considering you told us your great-grandfather was a pious man. A man like that, if somebody does them a good turn they remember them in their prayers to the Emperor for the rest of their life.”

And we kick the props out of one of the few positive aspects of this story. GRIMDARK!

Page 173-174
Sitting at his desk in his small office at Sector Command Beta (Eastern Divisions, Sectors 1-10 to 1-20), Colonel Kallad Drezlen...\
"I know General HQ say the orks aren’t smart enough to coordinate something like that. But I’ve got a metal pin in me, holding my left knee together from the time an ork shot blew a fist-sized hole in it."

A higher level (regimental) officer who doesnt believe the shit the lunatics in high command spout. Of course he's served on the line rather than in some rear echelon like artillery (who also seem to be idiots - see previous friendly fire incident.)

Also fist sized hole through leg from ork weapon again. They seem to do that rather commonly.

Page 178-179
Skench said, dropping a ladleful of greasy brown gruel into Larn’s tin, then nodding towards a pile of ration bars lying on a nearby table. “Make sure you keep it that way. As well as the gruel you get to take a ration bar. One bar, mind, new fish. I’ve counted them, so don’t try taking two. Oh, and if tonight you should have the runs, don’t do what the rest of them do and come round here blaming me."
“Really disgusting, I mean. I thought the food they gave us in basic training on Jumael was bad enough. But this is ten times worse.”
“A Tullan’s worm-grub,” Scholar said. “They are quite plentiful hereabouts, new fish. And an excellent source of protein.”

“They add to the flavour as well,” Bulaven said. “But make sure you chew up your food properly. If the grub is still alive when you swallow it they can lay eggs in your stomach.”
“It’s not as bad as it sounds. Gives you the runs for a couple of days, that is all. Course, if Skench cooked them properly, the grubs would be dead by the time they got to us.”
"And in the Guard you eat what you can get."

Apparnetly the food can get worse. Much worse.

Page 180
“We’d been on Bandar a week maybe, at most..."
Soon, he begins bragging to us that he is more than capable of capturing a terranosaur just as the Catachans had.
“He bet us a hundred credits he could hunt one, kill it, and bring it home for dinner.”

Catachans on a Deathworld, making a bet with the VArdans. Using credits.

Page 181-182
Here, they did not seem as gruff and intimidating. They seemed more relaxed.More at ease with themselves and their surroundings.

Looking around, Larn saw it was the same everywhere. All about him he could see Vardans talking, joking and laughing amongst themselves, their faces animated, their gestures more free and expansive. It was almost as though here in the dugout, for the moment at least, there were no orks.

No constant threat of death. No Broucheroc. Here, the Vardans seemed almost like the people Larn had known back home. As though, momentarily released of the shadow of war and horror, they had reverted to their true selves.

As he watched them, Larn began to understand for the first time that each of the Vardans had once been like him.

Larn comes to a realization of sorts, which is perhaps one of those (few) positive, human aspects of this story, and one of thos ethings that make it so contradictory seeming. It goes back to Bulaven and hope

Page 184
“You… quashed it?” Drezlen said, appalled. “You countermanded the alert?”
“Of course I did. Have you any idea of the fuss an alert order can cause? Troops are seconded from other sectors all across the city, extra supplies are sent up, reserve units are brought forward to the front. Sweet Emperor, man! Don’t you know a sector has to be on the verge of being overrun before an order to go to Alert Condition Red is warranted? Never mind the fact that, by issuing an alert on your own authority, you violated the chain of command!”

“You countermanded the alert,” Drezlen said quietly, his face ashen. “I can’t believe it…”

Say it with me.. DIVINELY ORDAINED COMMAND STRUCTURE! No wonder this place is such a fuckup.

Page 185
"...the pattern is the same: massed assaults preceded by lengthy bombardment by enemy artillery, as well as coordinated attacks on vital facilities by gretchin suicide bombers and ork troops. Currently, it is unclear how many of these assaults are the real thing and how many are intended only as diversions to put pressure on our resources.”

“Have you lost your mind, man? You’re talking as though the enemy were working to
some kind of coherent plan of action. For the Emperor’s sake, these are orks we are talking about! They don’t have the brains or organisational ability to put anything like that in motion.”

It seems that anyone at the rank of General or above in this novel is automatically an idiot and has no clue about the Orks at all. Anyone who actually fights the damn orks realizes what they are capable of, but there are always idiots who believe the Uplifting Primer propoganda crap.

Page 186
Watching the old man’s troubled face as he silently wrestled with all he had heard, Colonel Drezlen felt a sudden sympathy for him. General Pronan was an old school solider, thoroughly indoctrinated by his forty years in the Guard in the belief that all aliens were little better than animals. The idea he might have been outmanoeuvred by them, and by orks for that matter, would be hard for him to swallow but it was a matter of evidence. Slowly, Drezlen saw a grim look of resolve come over the general’s face. He had made his decision.

This guy isn't quite as idiotic as the other generals, it seems, and I guess this might explain some things. Apparently a great deal of the upper-echelon forces on Broucherac are not just old, they're positively ossified. Given the earlier bits about 'sidelining' The Grand Marshal (the madman) was whining about, and the lack of support, and being shuffled off to a unimportant backwater... it again seems like politics and the entire planet is just a military dumping ground for incompetents and madmen of the Guard. I could only envision some situation like this happening if you amassed a literal black hole mass of incompetence and stupidity of the upper echelons.

Page 189
"“Apparently, on Zeebers’ homeworld the number four is considered lucky. Then, when he first came to Broucheroc and joined us..."

So Zeeber's from offworld as well. I guess they don't recruit from BRoucheroc. Which also begs the quesiton, where the fuck is the PDF then?

Page 195
12th Coloradin Rifle Corps... Previous Strength: 638 men... Current Adjusted Strength: 603 men.
35th Zuvenian Light Foot.....Previous Strength: 499 men... Adjusted Strength: 456 men....

Bookkeeper tabulating loss perecntages and regimental losses per zone. Funny enough he makes his own fukcup by adding the VArdan rifles with Larn's company, and then overestimating the remaining strength of the VArdan massively (because the numbers didnt add up initially, and there was no mention of Larn's company being all but massacred...)

Page 197
As his fingers fiddled to change the frequency of the comm-bead in his ear..

comm bead frequency change

Page 198
“Auspex reports activity in the enemy lines,” Grishen said, frantic through a squall of static.

Page 199
“Five hundred metres,” Scholar said, already squinting at the oncoming orks through a targeter...
“Four hundred metres,” Scholar said.
“Three hundred metres,” Scholar yelled. “On my mark… fire!”
Lasbeams. Mortars. Auto-cannon rounds. Frag missiles.
“One hundred and twenty metres,” Scholar said, the orks having seemed to cover the intervening distance between them with impossible swiftness. “Change magazines and switch to rapid fire.”

Firing drill again.

Page 200-201
“Fifty metres,” Scholar’s voice counted down calmly. “Forty metres. Thirty.”
“Any time now would be good, fatman,” Davir said to Bulaven. “Are you actually going to use that damn flamer.."
Thirty metres became twenty-five. Twenty-five became twenty.

Implies a flamer range between 30-120 meters, probably more like 50 or so..
Also, orks seme to run at around 5 m/s average a tthis point.

Page 201
..dragging the heavy weight of a spare flamer canister behind him...

Heavy flamer too heavy for Larn to carry.

Page 202
Larn fired again, hitting his enemy in the chest. Unfazed, the ork did not miss a step. Larn shot at it again, firing off a rapid series of blasts that hit the creature in the neck, the shoulder, the chest again, then the face.
..the ork gave a last enraged bellow, collapsed, and died.

Durability of ork vs lasfire

PAge 202
Firing his lasgun one-handed towards the approaching orks...

Lasgun fired (accurately?) one handed

Page 202
Davir fired a snap shot toward it — the lasbeam ruptured the
canister’s body and it exploded in a plume of orange flame, incinerating the orks around it..

Assuming this means cremation rather than badyl burnt, and at least a half dozen orks are cauhgt in it we'd be talking at least a couple GJ to burn. Assuming a 40-100 kg flamer flask we're talking 30-75 MJ per kg for promethium.

Of course, if 'incinerate' just means badly burnt... :P

Page 203
Standing on the firing step along one wall of the emplacement, the barrel of his lasgun so hot in his hand now it burnt his fingers..

Lasguns don't seem to have any dedicated cooling or heat sink mechanisms usually, although some might expel gas as a means of cooling sometimes. Unless the entire body is meant to be a cooling mechanism perhaps? Radiating heat away from the components to the body to dissipate waste heat? Assuming a 4 kg lasgun and heated 30K higher than surroundings (and assuming iron - 12-18 kj per kg) we're talking 48-72 kj of waste heat. If we assume the entire surface of the lasgun's body (barrel) can cause first degree burns and assuming a surface area for the barrel area around 50-60 cm long each side, 5-10 cm tall`

call it 250-300 cm per top bottom and 500-600 cm per 'side'.. 1500-1800 square cm is 15-18 kj. Assuming 100 shots fired and between 15 and 100 kj of waste heat thats 150 j to 1000 j. That would suggest lasguns are quite efficient, as even single digit kj would be only a fraction of that energy 80-90% efficiency, if not more.

Page 203-204
He saw steely determination and a refusal to go easily to death.
Whatever their manner they were all what a Guardsman should be. Brave. Resolute. Unbending in the face of the enemy. These were the men on which the Imperium had been built. The men who had fought its every battle. Won its every victory.

Also mentioned - outnumbered and final stand, but its still pretty upbeat for this novel.

Page 204
..he wondered how many shots he had left in his own power pack. Five? Ten? Fifteen?..

Approximation of number of lasgun shots left... lower limit on power pack of course.

Page 207
Finding it difficult to breathe through the charcoal-filled filtration tube of his gas mask..

Broucherac grade gas masks.

P+age 208-209
..standing over the body of a dead ork and pressing the blade of his entrenching tool against its throat. “Next, you draw the spade head back and forth a bit to cut through the skin. Then, you put your weight on it."
..Bulaven stamped down to push the sharpened spade head partway through the thick muscles of the ork’s neck. Then, occasionally wriggling the spade around to slice through the worst of the tendons and break the spinal vertebrae, the big man stamped down on the spade several more times until the creature’s head had been completely severed.

Like Highlander immortals you have to cut off the head of an Ork to make sure it stays dead

Page 209
Granted, ork skin can be tougher than reptile hide - especially on the big ones. But if you keep your spade head nice and sharp, and remember to let your body weight do the work, their heads come off pretty easy.

Ork skin is tougher than normal skin.

Page 209
“But is always better to make sure with an ork, just to be on the safe
side. They are tough bastards. You can shoot one in the head and think he’s dead, only for him to suddenly get up and start walking about a few hours later. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen.”

Ork toughness

Page 210
"Then, the militia auxiliaries will take the bodies away for burning to get rid of the spores.”
“Spores?” Larn asked.
"Orks grow from spores. Like mold. Leastways, that’s what Scholar says. I
can’t say I’ve ever seen it happen myself, mind. But I’m prepared to take his word for it."

Ork spore theory!

Page 210
What is it with you and helmets, new fish?
Then, you go and get yourself shot in the head.

Apparently Larn got shot in the head whilst wearing a helmet by Ork gunfire, and he's still alive (although its implied if it had been strapped on his neck might have snapped, so..)

Page 211
Turning to face the ork lines in the east, he saw the sun was setting. He saw it, and he was amazed. It was beautiful. Extraordinary. More breathtaking and vivid even than the sunset he had seen on his last night at home.
Who knew there could ever be such a sun, he thought in wonder. Who knew there could be such beauty here?
As though by right of his passage through hell he had paid the price that had allowed him this brief perfect moment of quiet and reflection.

A bit of joy and wonder, probably the last bit before the rest of the novel goes all grimdark. Still the whole 'new suns, see new worlds and wonders' thing from the early part of the book holds up, and is perhpas one of the few good things of the Guard.

We also learn that the frozen shit on Broucherac is actually their summer :P

Page 217
"You remember I told you how sometimes a wounded ork will seem dead, only to get up and start walking about a few hours later?"
"By now some of them could be healed already.."
“Orks are remarkably tough creatures, new fish,”
“If one of them loses an arm or leg their surgeons will just staple the limb from another dead ork to them to take its place. After a battle such surgeries are in great demand — so they tend to send gangs of gretchin out into no-man’s land to cut undamaged limbs from the corpses."

Orky medicine.

Page 221
Sliding his combat knife from its sheath as he dropped to his knees beside the body, he quickly pulled the ork’s unresisting jaws open and silently stabbed the blade up through the weak point in the roof of the mouth and into the brain.

Stab to the brain - kill an Ork.

Page 223
..Zeebers fired, hitting the nearest gretch in the chest. Swiftly, he fired again, unleashing another half-dozen lasbeams, hitting two more gretch and causing the rest to flee.

Implied rate of of lasgun - maybe six shots per burst?

page 223
..he saw a staccato burst of white tracer lines in the distance to the right of him as somewhere in the darkness a lasgun fired.

Lasguns have white tracers - guess thats what the visible beam is supposed to be?

Page 224
It was huge, wearing a bloodstained apron across its body and a thick-lensed monocular over one of its eyes.
Larn fired again, hitting the monster in the stomach. Then again. The chest. Again. The shoulder. Again. The face. The lasbeam briefly flaring brighter as it burned through the lens of the monocular. Tearing the melted mounting of the device away uncaring from the scorched socket of its now-blind eye...

Lasblast blinds ork eye and melts the monocle device or possibly an optical augmetic. It probably covers a good deal of the face - something like this or [url=]this[/url.] Assuming a 5 cm diameter, 3 cm wide area of iron was melted and about half a cm thick through the lens (minus lens of course!) we might figure some 100-200 grams of iron melted - call it between 100 and 200 kilojoules approximately. Call it oduble/triple kj like usual.

Also a reflection of how durable the higher echelon orks are. Over 5-6 hits and he's still going.

And now... the bonus story: Knee Deep by Mitchell Scanlon. Takes place after fifteen hours, minus Larn (same people though.)

Page 229
The tunnels seemed endless. They burrowed deep into the earth, stretching outward for tens of kilometres in every direction.

Scope of the city's sewers.

Page 230
Bulaven hefted the imposing bulk of a flamer while Scholar carried a hand-held auspex unit.

They have hand held auspex this time! Fancy gear!

Page 231
"We should be looking for Larn.”


“The new fish, Davir. He’s only been missing for two days. You can’t have
forgotten him already.”

This story takes place two days after the end of Fifteen Hours. Larn, of course, dies at the end from an Ork bullet, but they don't know he's dead.

Page 231
"It is the nature of the war here. Often, when two sides are in stalemate they struggle with evergreater violence to achieve a resolution. Paradoxically, it creates a war where nothing of consequence ever happens, and yet men are constantly fighting and dying, giving their lives for as little as a few centimetres of territory. The militarist Hsu Chan discusses the irony in one of his tactical works, The Book of…”

Page 233
The sergeant was difficult to read, but at times, he seemed to find a dark humour in their situation. He was not a by-the-book soldier, nor a shrieking parade ground martinet. In contrast to most of the men who held authority of any kind in Broucheroc, the sergeant knew how to laugh.

Chelkar. Again 'anti-divinely inspired'

Page 234
“I’m reading multiple contacts ahead of us,”
"And the sensor traces look too big to be anything other than orks.”
“The middle one.” Scholar’s long fingers worked at the auspex’s controls, calibrating the readings. “They are directly ahead. I estimate the distance as no more than two hundred metres.”

auspex can give numbers and approximate size/mass indicator, as well sa range and bearing. Auspex has range of at least 200 metres.

Page 234
The standard ten-man squads of Imperial Guard doctrine having long ago proven unwieldy in the close confines of the streets of Broucheroc, never mind its sewers, the Vardans were divided into a number of five-man fire-teams

Fire teams and squads. Again this seems to be ooffical rather than unofficial policy.

Dozens of orks hung like bats from the shaft wall, waiting to spring an ambush.

Sneaky orks!

Page 236-237
He fought the urge to panic, taking careful aim at the greenskin’s face. With the added force of a hotshot power pack behind it, he fired a single las-shot that burned through the creature’s left eye and into its brains, the rear of its skull exploding in a blast of steam and red gore as the shot exited the head.
He chose his targets carefully, conserving the punch of the hotshot pack for where it would have the most effect.
He fired his lasgun a half-dozen times, each one a headshot, each one another
dead ork.

Ork headsplosion blowing out the back of the skull and overpenetrating like hell to do it, also a probable steam explosion. ASsuming it boils the brains (268 per kg) and an Ork head is 2-3x more massive than a human (4-5 kg if the brain corresponds) we're talking close to a MJ or so of thermal energy. More purely mechanical would probably double digit kj to blow out back of skull like that. If third degree burns are made to the brain (assume 8cm to a side.. 384 sq cm total we're talking between 19 and 153 kj for the hotshot.)

Hotshot pack also has at least 7 shots, so its the multi shot variety. RAther fascinating that the VArdans have those as stnadard like in the past novel, but it makes sense in dealing with Orks.

Page 239
In keeping with standard procedure in Broucheroc, the Vardans had already beheaded the bodies to prevent any unexpected “resurrections”. It was not unknown for a comatose ork, with a seemingly mortal wound, to suddenly spring to life several hours after the fight had ended.

Decapitate orks to mak esure they're dead.

Page 242
According to the chronometer function on Scholar’s auspex..

The auspex has a chronometer function as well as detection.

Page 246
In contrast to Scholar, whose learning covered hundreds of topics, Bulaven had been given only enough education to help him work in the foundries on his homeworld of Vardan—no more.

Variable education in the Guard.

Page 246-248
“This may well be the beginning of a new ecosystem. The warmth from the heating pipes has created the conditions in which this fungi can flourish, allowing it to colonise the environment. At the same time, the presence of the fungus has effected the environment itself in turn—clearing the sewer residue from around the pipes and allowing them to heat the tunnels more effectively."
The predominant colour was green, but in places, Davir could see startling outgrowths and carpet-like patches in blue, red and purple. It was as though they stood on the edge of an altogether inhuman world, monstrously transformed in accordance with the needs of the xenos.

“It is the warmth from the heating pipes,” Scholar whispered. “It created the
perfect conditions for ork colonisation.”

Ork spores influencing ecosystems.

Page 248
“This could well have started with just a single spore,” Scholar said. “One spore, drifting down from the city above. In any other part of the sewers, it would have lain dormant. But, here, it found a warm setting in which it could thrive. The spore gave birth to an ork, whose body in turn released thousands more spores. They took root here as well, slowly changing the environment to make it more suitable for their needs. Now, it is like the whole area is an enormous nursery.”

All across the atrium, there were thousands of round globes of fungus—adhering to walls, suspended from overhanging pipes, or lying thick on the ground in clusters.
Long ago, Scholar had told him that orks grew from spores like mould or fungi.

Ork spore production and confimration of the theory.

Page 250
Money meant little in Broucheroc, not that the Guardsmen had it anyway,..

Clearly the Vardans aren't getting paid by the Guard in this case.

Page 254-255
"I have developed a method of processing the local lichens for their food value, but they are deficient in a number of vitamins.”

“Hmm? Oh, yes. Methane production levels fell, so I redistributed some of the
remaining supply toward heating the tunnels in order to encourage bacterial growth.”
"The sewers of this city are a marvel of engineering, many thousands of years old. They are designed to be a self-sustaining system in which nothing of potential value is left unused. Human waste is converted into methane gas by the action of gene-sculpted bacteria bred specifically for that purpose. In turn, this methane is pumped to the surface to be used as fuel in some of the city’s manufactoriums.”

Imperial engineering and efficiency measures, I have to say its.. kinda impressive sounding. Although since they destroy it later, I wonder how this impacts tha manufacturing capability of the city. Can produce a sort of edible food source (albeit with certain deficienices) and can also provide power from shit.

Page 256
"At last count, more than four-fifths of the city’s civilian population are dead. That’s why your methane levels are falling. Less people means less shit, means less raw material for your bacteria to work on.”

4/5 the city is dead from the war. The planet is dying by inches, literally.

Page 257
Davir had seen servitors before. On some Imperial worlds they were relatively common, but he could never escape a feeling of horror when he looked at them. He understood enough to know they were not truly alive. For all that, the human parts still moved with the semblance of life, their owners were long dead, their bodies harvested and grafted to the machine for use as organic components.

Servitors and their commonality.

Page 257
Raising his lasgun to his shoulder, he sighted in on the lead servitor and drilled a lasblast through the centre of its forehead.

The abomination kept on moving.

Davir fired again. Another las-blast hit the servitor, destroying even more of its

Two shots at least to partly destroy servitor brain, not that it does much. single digit kj maybe?

Page 258
No matter how much damage he did to their human parts, the servitors seemed indifferent to his efforts. When he fired at the machine parts, it barely dented them—the las-blasts were simply absorbed or deflected.

Lasgun shots dont do much to the metal bits.

Page 258
He switched his lasgun to full auto and fired off the remainder of the power pack in a matter of seconds.

Assuming half a powerpck and 60 shots, (so 30 shots) and between 3-5 seconds we're talking 6-10 shots per second. If its a full pack, we could be taking 12-20 shots per second or more (30 per second at two seconds?) Probably not much more than a few seconds since the servitors intend to kill him, but we also dont know how many shots were left in the pack either.

Page 258
“Code command: epsilon beta nine-five, alpha seven-seven-seven
omega! Adept! I am giving you an order!”

It was Scholar.
“Magos, I acknowledge your authority. I am yours to command.”
“Very good, adept,” Scholar said.

Interesting that Scholar has the knoweldge of the AdMech an dtheir codes to be able to emulate a MAgos, don't you think? Speaks to the whole 'unofficial knowledge' angle aspect, since its unlikely he actually was a cogboy, unless he has some very subtle augmetics.

Page 260
In order that he might better perform his labours, long ago his brain had been fitted with cybernetic implants designed to regulate and moderate his emotional responses.

Rite of Pure thought? or was it Clear thought?

Page 261-262
The news he was no longer needed had been unexpected. He had been told he was obsolete, as were the sewers. That last news had been the most surprising. With a single stroke, his entire life, every sacrifice he had endured, had been rendered meaningless.

After fifteen hours and that grimdark, are we surprised?

Page 263
They had come from the tall tech-priest—the one his bodyguards called “Scholar”. He looked and acted strangely for a magos, but that was hardly an issue. His status was clear. He had spoken to Serberus in machine code, using all the correct commandments and overrides.

Again interesitng at the sort of knowledge SCholar seems to bear unofficially. THe origins of such will probably never be known, which is sad.

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Zinegata » 2013-04-21 07:40am

Connor MacLeod wrote:As we learn later they have a PDF, so why are they recruiting from the populace? Is the military situation so dire they have to go through the effort of conscripting and training civilians? Are there no hive worlds where they can just snatch up a shitload of gangers? Or what?

Maybe because the PDF doesn't want to give away its best and most professional troops for an off-world concern? The current fluff states the Governors have to send their best for the tithe, but that doesn't mean it's a rule necessarily followed - some Governors may just give the bare minimum that would pass the requirements and keep as much fighting troops for his own use.

I'm actually trying to figure out the politics of this in my Vae Victis series, and when you think about it sending 10% of your best troops for off-world concerns really doesn't actually make a lot of sense. Especially if your world has ongoing problems like say an Ork infestation.

In the 'modern' scheme of things, where sectors have arisen as self-sufficient 'islands' of humanity scattered across the galaxy, the idea of returning home if you serve within the sector is alot more plausible, so 'never returning home' is no longer an absolute (EG the Sameter regiments in the short story where Eisenhorn loses his hand.)

Cain't Valhallans regularly get replacements as well. And even Gaunt's Ghosts eventually get a recruitment / replacement pool after Vervunhive basically adopts them.

Since its a grimdark IG novel, that means that a agri world full of wheat and normal food is denied to the Guard, who get to eat gray slop. Because it sthe Guard and... GRIMDARK. And this is STILL no the worst it can get.

Gaunt also recalls eating pretty much nothng but the gray slop in one of the Gaunt Short stories, but that's actually a stark contrast with his first appearance where he's eating ham and eggs as part of his officer's rations.

I'm honestly surprised that none of the Guard regiments have ever mutinied because of the stupid rations however. PDFs probably get better food than the grey slop because they can be fed off local produce.

More of the 'DIVINELY ORDAINED MILITARY STRUCTURE' crap, because you know, freethinking is bad.

To be fair, this isn't just limited to grim dark. You really should think of this novel as Full Metal Jacket in 40K.

Which is acutally its own brand of silliness, given the Imperium's hunger for resources of all kinds including fuel.

I actually get the sense that the oil doesn't really exist and it was all one huge ruse to lure the Orks in. If there was oil, given the scale of the damage to the city, much of it should have burned up by now.

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-04-21 02:09pm

Zinegata wrote:Maybe because the PDF doesn't want to give away its best and most professional troops for an off-world concern? The current fluff states the Governors have to send their best for the tithe, but that doesn't mean it's a rule necessarily followed - some Governors may just give the bare minimum that would pass the requirements and keep as much fighting troops for his own use.

That's possible, but they'd probably have to have some good pull (through bribery, connections, etc.) with the Munitorum not to be punished for this, the Munitorum is usually very proprietary about what it is owed, and that includes quality of troops. Or else the Governor is gambling that the Munitorum won't quibble too much over the tithe, although this seems odd given that said governor may risk their life/career if the Munitorum isn't happy.

I can't remembe rform the novel but it may also be one of those cases where they stripped the PDF (Maybe its not large to begin with) down to the bone (leaving only a skeleton by which to rebuild it from) and then took whatever else they needed from the civilian populace as conscripts.

I'm actually trying to figure out the politics of this in my Vae Victis series, and when you think about it sending 10% of your best troops for off-world concerns really doesn't actually make a lot of sense. Especially if your world has ongoing problems like say an Ork infestation.

The beauty of 40K is that you can basically find an excuse to contrive literally any situation. Its something of a disadvantage in vs debates (where absolutes rule), but as fodder for story material that chaos and ambiguity is great for making up different and interesting settings. Its one of the things I like about the more recent 40K novel Fire Caste, they decided to play around with the setting and give the Guard something akin to power armour in a way that doesn't break with the spirit of the Guard. :P

Cain't Valhallans regularly get replacements as well. And even Gaunt's Ghosts eventually get a recruitment / replacement pool after Vervunhive basically adopts them.

Yes but Valhalla is on the other end of a segmentum. recall that Cain serves in the Damocles Gulf region, which is why he has so many run ins with Tyranids and the Tau. The Ghosts get replacements because IIRC Gaunt is the 'people's hero', and the other was the Belladon Colour Band which had been a special request by Wilder (possibly through family/political connections) and had only just caught up with the regiment. And even then its still within a relatively small region of space (The Sabbat worlds.) rather than halfway across the galaxy.

Its similar to the complaints I had about Taros and Vraks - they literally hauled troops halfway across the galaxy rathre than pulling in from closer, which only makes sense if you literally HAD no other troops closer. (although in the case of Taros, it seems that as of 6th the Imperium just manages to have huge swathes of its territories stripped bare of troops giving the Tau free reign to invade and conquer whole sectors of Imperial space.)

Gaunt also recalls eating pretty much nothng but the gray slop in one of the Gaunt Short stories, but that's actually a stark contrast with his first appearance where he's eating ham and eggs as part of his officer's rations.

I'm honestly surprised that none of the Guard regiments have ever mutinied because of the stupid rations however. PDFs probably get better food than the grey slop because they can be fed off local produce.

I'm actually just poking fun at the novel because its part of that inherent 'absurdity' I suspect. Gaunt and stuff mention the Slab, but it was also mentioned those were 'crap' rations and generally served when noting else was available. we've seen cases of the Guard subsisting on better fare, even if its because they caught/killed it themselves.

It also probably doesn't help that the logistics of feeding troops can be as varaible (and dangerous) as every other bit of Munitorum logistics (get the wrong rations and you can get really sick, because apparently nutritional and caloric requirements can vary from planet to planet.)

To be fair, this isn't just limited to grim dark. You really should think of this novel as Full Metal Jacket in 40K.

Again its part of the inherent 'absurdity' permeating the entire novel. The book was meant to be written as being the 'worst case scenario' possible for a Guardsman to face - abandoned on a dead end war with little or no support, an idiotic and inflexible command staff that refuses to accept reality, a dehumanised and ground down civilian populace, and massively outnumbred (and outgunned) military force. Its actually not that bizarre a scenario given all of that even with the deliberate absurdity (because humans by nature CAN be absurd) but I can't help but poke fun at the grimdark because so many people would not GRASP that absurdity. They literally think this is how 40K is meant to be seriously taken and that its not 40K if it doesn't have this kind of shit.

I actually get the sense that the oil doesn't really exist and it was all one huge ruse to lure the Orks in. If there was oil, given the scale of the damage to the city, much of it should have burned up by now.

It could be. Its hard to know what the truth of the matter is in this conflict, or if anyone really knows or has a grand strategy anymore. Again its part of the greater absurdity of the book. The same way that the artillery people don't ever bother to check or send spoters forwarrd to make sure their shots actually land on target.

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Zinegata » 2013-04-21 11:35pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:That's possible, but they'd probably have to have some good pull (through bribery, connections, etc.) with the Munitorum not to be punished for this, the Munitorum is usually very proprietary about what it is owed, and that includes quality of troops. Or else the Governor is gambling that the Munitorum won't quibble too much over the tithe, although this seems odd given that said governor may risk their life/career if the Munitorum isn't happy.

I can't remembe rform the novel but it may also be one of those cases where they stripped the PDF (Maybe its not large to begin with) down to the bone (leaving only a skeleton by which to rebuild it from) and then took whatever else they needed from the civilian populace as conscripts.

My sense is that the tithe can actually be paid off in a variety of ways and not just by literally stripping the PDF.

My take on it in "Vae Victis" is that the PDF really frowned upon getting its best 10% (because they were still fighting Orks in the wasteland areas), so they tried to scrape together a regiment from volunteers. When the volunteers weren't enough to meet the bill (the world was settled by retired Guardsmen, who knew exactly what a Founding entailed), they had to arrange a lottery to pick out more troops to fill out the tithe - which proved hugely unpopular so they had to stop it before they could meet the tithe.

Finally, they threw in oddball Tech Priests, older vehicles, and B-team Psykers to finally make the cut.

Yes but Valhalla is on the other end of a segmentum. recall that Cain serves in the Damocles Gulf region, which is why he has so many run ins with Tyranids and the Tau. The Ghosts get replacements because IIRC Gaunt is the 'people's hero', and the other was the Belladon Colour Band which had been a special request by Wilder (possibly through family/political connections) and had only just caught up with the regiment. And even then its still within a relatively small region of space (The Sabbat worlds.) rather than halfway across the galaxy.

Its similar to the complaints I had about Taros and Vraks - they literally hauled troops halfway across the galaxy rathre than pulling in from closer, which only makes sense if you literally HAD no other troops closer. (although in the case of Taros, it seems that as of 6th the Imperium just manages to have huge swathes of its territories stripped bare of troops giving the Tau free reign to invade and conquer whole sectors of Imperial space.)

The new Codex says that troops should be drawn first from a circle around the world in danger; with the circle expanding as the threat becomes graver. So in theory the Guard shouldn't be shipping troops from halfway across the Galaxy.

What I envisioned in Vae Victis is very similar to this - with the majority of the regiments fighting together coming from the same subsector, hence me coming up with other regiments for my stories like the Akkadian Rifles (Red-Shirt Army), Rokun Cavalry (19th Century IJA), Oridian Engineers (Free Polish Forces), with only a smattering of appearances by the iconic regiments like the Cadians and Kriegers. And even then, the Cadians who show up are generally shot-up regiments who were sent to what was seen as a secondary low-intensity theater.

I'm actually just poking fun at the novel because its part of that inherent 'absurdity' I suspect. Gaunt and stuff mention the Slab, but it was also mentioned those were 'crap' rations and generally served when noting else was available. we've seen cases of the Guard subsisting on better fare, even if its because they caught/killed it themselves.

Dammit, this is making me want to follow through on a short story about a Guard logistical officer's (a female Ratling) woes regarding feeding her regiment.

(And no, she does not resort to corpse starch :lol: )

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-04-23 11:45am

Zinegata wrote:My sense is that the tithe can actually be paid off in a variety of ways and not just by literally stripping the PDF.

In theory yes. The old fluff (for example) often had PDF stripping Hive worlds of excess population by mass conscription of Hive Gangers. Considering how violent underhives were, how wars there were often fought (at least by Necromunda) and the sorts of firepower they had access to, it probably didn't take long to train them to be soldiers. Whereas you wouldn't get the same outcome from a Agri world (farmers). And feral/feudal worlds might be aggressive, but they need some education and upbringing to figure out how to shoot and use technology (unless they're cannon fodder, which is always a possibility in the Guard.)

That said, this would probably require the cooperation (or collusion with) the local branch Munitorum guys, who would oversee the tithing at the local level in order to pull off, as the Munitorum is a final authority on what is considered 'acceptable'. If they are greedy/needy enough it is possible (and within the remit) of the Munitorum to strip private armies/mercenary groups, militias, noble bodyguards, etc. for forces (This esp from FFG's stuff.) And the Imperial Guard (through its Munitorum officers) always has the option of seconding/stealing what it needs from the locals as well.

My take on it in "Vae Victis" is that the PDF really frowned upon getting its best 10% (because they were still fighting Orks in the wasteland areas), so they tried to scrape together a regiment from volunteers. When the volunteers weren't enough to meet the bill (the world was settled by retired Guardsmen, who knew exactly what a Founding entailed), they had to arrange a lottery to pick out more troops to fill out the tithe - which proved hugely unpopular so they had to stop it before they could meet the tithe.

No Governor likes to give up his best 10%, and its generally expected they will try to get aorund it. Whether it works or not, of course, is another story. Some Munitorum officers may be ignorant or just not care (so long as the quota is filled with bodies and noone yells at them) whilst others may be truly dedicated, knowledagle hardcases out to get the Munotirum's last credit from the tithe.

Finally, they threw in oddball Tech Priests, older vehicles, and B-team Psykers to finally make the cut.

As I recall the 'other' stuff like Psykers and enginseers gets added through cooperative pacts the Munitorum has with the AdMech. Like the officers, they don't come 'organic' to thr troops, at least not normally.

The new Codex says that troops should be drawn first from a circle around the world in danger; with the circle expanding as the threat becomes graver. So in theory the Guard shouldn't be shipping troops from halfway across the Galaxy.

That was a rehash of old 2nd edition stuff. Back then troops could be pulled in from as far as 10,000 LY away routinely to help wars, they just took out a few zeros :P I suspect the Cain onvels may e referencing that, but its equally possible/likely that its just up to special status/favour/pacts/whatever. Remember he Vostroyans are SUPPOSED to be unusual for their ability to reinforce from home - its part of their old pact with the Imperium to make up for their failure during the Heresy. It doesnt mean others never do this either, it just means its uncommon practice.

More likely if recruitment happens its at the subsector or sector levels, where chartist captains and alternate (non Navigator) means can be exploited to shift people around (EG it can still happen, its just lower priority) Its also more likely that at the local levels (sector and lower) that politics, influence, and wealth can influence the logistical systems to get such recruits transited.

(And no, she does not resort to corpse starch :lol: )

as much as I joke on it, the idea of recycling bodies for needed resources isn't THAt unusual really. At least no worse than recycling the waste of the living. I mean on some level we all are eating food based off of the dead - things in nature decay/die and are recycled into nutrients used to create the next stage of life, at least in some places. The only difference is the speed and nature of that process. Its quite possible the Munitorum processes are better at the processing (corpse starch would kinda suggest that as unappetizing as it sounds) rather than just gutting human corpses and stripping them of their still-warm (or just preserved) flesh like cannibals. Indeed, procssing for water reclamation as well as to filter out unwanted organic bacteria or disease (always a danger when you have a million plus worlds to contend with.) make it quite desirable, unless they wnat to go to the effort and expense of recruiting and retraining and retransporting a whole new force once it catches something it wasn't immune to.

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-04-23 11:49am

Decided I would cover Death World, 2nd Ig novel released. By Steve Lyons, and features the Catachan. AS the name says, it features the Catachans and a Death world. and (again) features Orks. Much of the novel is about jungle fighting Orks and how badass Catachans are compared to everyone else, but that is doing the novel a bit of a disservice - I liked it better the second time around than the first. But of Lyons 3 works, its better than Dead Men walking but not as good as Ice Guard.

Two part update. Also features a short story preceding this novel from the Guard omnibus, so the numbering is for the omnibus first (short story) then
I just decided to reread the omnibus. I think. Acutally I can't remember the process I did so oh well. :P

Page 268
Lorenzo reached for his knife, his trusty Catachan fang, and his palm moulded itself to the handle as if it were a part of him, an extra limb. In his own mind, it was. He had carved the blade himself when he was seven, spent the intervening ten years honing it to perfection.

Catachan ritual - apparently all their knives are custom made and are personal to every individual. Makes a bit of sense since its probalby one of their most important tools for survival. And Catachans seem to make survival a religion (hence the ritual quality to all of it.)

Page 269
The surrounding vegetation, dark, dense and twisted, had begun to react to a human presence, to orient itself towards him. It reached out with its branches and its shoots, and some plants had even begun to shuffle in his direction.

One o fthe myriad dangers of Catchan - ambulatory predatory plants...

Page 272
..he couldn’t get too close until he had ruled out infection; some jungle-borne diseases killed at a dozen paces..

....And dangeorus long range diseases.

Page 275
Lying on his stomach, he reached between the branches of a brainleaf for edible berries, knowing that the slightest breath of air would alert the plant to his presence; cause it to fire its tendrils into him. If that happened, he would no longer be Lorenzo, no longer be a man at all, but the brainleaf’s unthinking meat puppet.

And mind control plants.

Page 275
The water was clear, glistening, inviting, and his dry throat tensed in anticipation of relief—but the algae on its surface was of a toxic type, and one known to spawn a flesh-eating virus.

And flesh eating pools of water.

Page 276
Lorenzo thought long and hard before he eased himself into the river. It was another way of masking his trail, of delaying his pursuer, but it would also expose him to untold other dangers, dangers he would be less able to detect in the waist-high water. He knew that reptiles and aquatic rodents concealed themselves in the cracks of the riverbed, and that some types of weed could drag him under in a heartbeat if he stepped on them. And indeed, he had only been wading for a few minutes when he disturbed a small nest of leeches.

Yet more aquatic dangers.

Page 277
He had been just three years old when his mother had shown him the devolved remains of a Catachan fortress, much like the one in which they lived and none too distant from it. It had probably taken just one slip, she’d said, one small misstep, to bring about the end.

The hapless culprit had probably never even known what he’d done, hadn’t lived long enough to realise he had disturbed a barking toad.
The toad that had blown itself up here had been a small one, its blast diameter less than two hundred metres—but still, Lorenzo knew that nothing would ever grow in this area again.

And of course.. the exploding Catachan Barking Toad. A 'small' toad has a 'blast diameter' of 200 metres, although since it is described as poisonous and suggests its more a chem/bio weapon, its hard to actually measure the effect.

One would think (and it has been commented on before) that the implied blast radius and 'never growing' would suggest the planet would be uninhabable in a short time, but it may not be 'literally' permanant. Or maybe the radius of uninhabitability is far less than the blast radious (the toxic and explosive effects may be completely separate, for all we know.)

Page 278
The barking toad was deceptively small and fragile-seeming—and, unlike most of the creatures of Catachan, it didn’t appear remotely resentful of a human presence.

Description of the explosive toad.

Page 279
The armour hadn’t yet been forged that a cloud of barking toad poison couldn’t liquefy in a heartbeat—and this cloud would be four or five times normal strength. But then, no man-made armour was as strong as the natural plating of an elderly Devil—and the flesh beneath those plates was almost as tough.

There is a bit of.. context to consider here. Taken in a literal, absolute way, this woudl suggest that Devils are tougher than battleship (starship) armor and Barking toads can dissolve same armor, but a slightly less insane context would apply in a 'on-world' context - either quality (but not thickness) or a particular sort of armor - personal armor perhaps.

Page 283
Blundered into a mantrap, a full six paces across. It had felt his weight, and its edges were already curling, about to snap shut. He tried to leap from it, but too late, and he was far, far too slow.

The plant swallowed his trailing right leg, pain slicing through him as its teeth dug into his wounded thigh.

Catachan man trap - big enough to swallow a whole leg up to the thigh. Given 6 paces (assuming .75m 'pace') we're probably talking at least 4.5 m 'across' unfolded. The petals probably fold upt o a meter, meter and a half 'tall' meaning the main body is probably 2-3 metres.

Page 286
He felt nauseous—anti-plague drugs, he guessed—and he could taste the chalky residue of water tablets on his tongue.
"it cost us three cans of synth-skin just to fix up that leg of yours.”

Catchan medicine. I wwonder WTF the 'chalky' water tablets are. Dehydrated water? :P

Page 291
He crouched in silence, in the dark, ready to drive half a metre of Catachan steel into the heart of any man or beast...

length of Lorzeno's Catachan knife. More a short sword, really.

Page 292
He had sat inside a cabin like this one, gripping the side of an acceleration couch as he rode out the Shockwaves of near misses and glancing blows, his knuckles white, his life, his destiny, in the hands of a ship’s captain and his gunners—and of the Emperor, of course.

Acceleration couches would imply that whatever starship he rode in had no AG, which does put some hefty limits on acceleration. Of course it also implies that the gunnery was probably not handled in any sort of WW1/2/Age of sail fashion, unless they used robots/servitors and autoloaders. :P

PAge 293
The air was recycled, stale, and it didn’t carry sounds in the way that fresh air did. The artificial gravity wasn’t quite the same as that of any planet he’d visited. And it was quiet—so deathly quiet. There were none of the sounds of nature to which Lorenzo was attuned, the subtle clues that mapped out his surroundings for him and warned when danger approached. Instead, there was only the faint throb of engines, the vibrations reverberating through the hull so their origin was untraceable.

Differences between shipboard and planet-bound life to a Catachan.

Page 293
...Colonel “Stone Face” Graves summoned his Third Company of the Catachan XIV Regiment to the briefing room.

The men of four platoons, their bandoliers slung across their backs, crowded into the small area.

Four platoons, comprising twenty-two squads—including two squads of Catachan Devils, who stood near the front and around whom even the most hardened veterans left a respectful space. Then there were the hulking, low-browed ogryns...

The organizational breakdown of the company involved in this mission (and book.) - includes both the Catachan Devils (the Catachan equivalent of storm troopers/veteran elites. Or in this caes, elite of elites.) and Ogryn.

Page 294
“Listen up, you soft-skinned losers,”
“Naval Command think you lot have had it easy too long, and I agree with them. I begged them: ‘No more milk runs. I want no less than the dirtiest, most dangerous job you’ve got. I won’t have my Jungle Fighters turning into fat, lazy sons of acid grubs who wouldn’t lift a hand to scratch their own arses!’ So, ladies, last chance to pamper yourselves in your luxury quarters—because as of this evening, you’ll be working for your keep.”

First comment: One of the more irksome things about this book for me was all the over the top catachan crap. I know they're supposed to all be Movie Rambo analogues but.. fuck. This is just silly, and the book is full of all kinds of stuff. It's almost as bad as with Space MArines, if Space MArines could be rambo.

Page 295
He looked down at his bowl gloomily, and let a dollop of over-processed grey mulch slide from his spoon. Another thing he hated: Imperial Guard rations. If he’d been planetside, he’d have found something—some herb or spice—to make them more palatable. Or someone would have hunted down some indigenous beast, and his squad would have feasted on meat.

It seems that the Catachans got stuck with the Jumael cook from 15 hours. Or maybe this IS munitorum standard. Either way Catachans clearly are used to eating better than guard standard. Cuz they're ELITE badasses and all.

Page 298
The whole of Third Company could have fitted into one drop ship with room to spare. Instead, Colonel Graves had ordered them to split up, one platoon to a ship.
The shadowy spaces around the cramped seating area were empty, apart from a dusty Sentinel scout walker tucked into one. The Catachans carried little more equipment than would fit into their kit bags—and those bags stayed with them

The drop ship can carry far more troops (and equipment) than a single company - possibly a whole regiment. Can also carry at least light vehicles, given the Sentinel.

Page 299
It had taken an ambush by four ice apes on the frozen world of Tundrar to deprive Armstrong of his left eye—and even then he had snapped the spine of one beast, gutted two more and gunned down the fourth as it had fled.

Catachans. Hardcore Badass. Blah blah.

Page 301
They looked like the mantraps of Catachan, but taller. Three bulbous pink heads, surely too heavy for their stalks to support, split open like mouths. No teeth within, though. These plants were spitters.

Mantrap-like acid spitters.

Page 304
“Do you think it can melt through adamantium?”
“with the damage we must have taken on the way down. I’d keep an eye out up there."

Death world Acid spitting flowers. Apparently adamantium can be vulnerable to magic deathworld acid if prior damage is a factor. Although given this world can (amongst other things) mind control and raise the dead, 'magic' is definitely a factor here (which is not much different from any other death world really.. Can you say 'nuclear toad?')

Page 304
Myers let out a curse and leapt back. Several troopers were splashed, but those who had alkali powders in their kits—ground from the vegetation of their last deathworld—had readied them, and they quickly pressed them into service.

Catachans, like boy scouts, always seem to be prepared, and are good at herbcraft and medicine and for all I fucking know can turn lead into gold via alchemy. God knows Deathworlds produce stranger shit. Alkali implies taht deadly acids are a common occuranc eon Deathworlds that Catachans visit.

Page 306
Vines checked his compass, and received a navigational fix from the troop carrier in orbit. They were ten kilometres away from the Imperial encampment, he reported, and the quickest route to it was to retrace the trail of devastation to its source.

starship-assisted navigation.

Page 306
A jungle lizard skittered away as the Catachans approached. Lorenzo estimated it to be about twenty centimetres long, but without a closer inspection he couldn’t tell if it was an adult or a baby.

Deathworld lizard thngs. They end up killing tons of these throughout the book. Some are a bit bigger, althoguh its implied they do grow larger, so we should keep the size in mind later.

Page 307
Lorenzo had looked forward to entering the jungle proper, but instead he found himself at the edge of an expansive clearing. It was man-made, about two kilometres in diameter, doubtless the product of many hours of toil by Imperium troops with flamers—and yet the vegetation at the clearing’s edge was already showing signs of re-growth.

Without breaking step, the Jungle Fighters made for a huddle of prefabricated buildings in the clearing’s centre..

Base camp and a kill zone clearing-thing. May reprenset some kind of standard.

Page 308-309
About fifty Catachans and a handful of ogryns from A and D Platoons had taken over a generous area, perching on tables with their feet up on chairs, swigging from flasks and punching each other boisterously. They had broken out the hooch to celebrate their arrival, it had been brewed on the troop ship, and put aside for a special occasion.

Catachans also seem to be master brewers, being able to produce alcohol whilst aboard ship. also a reflection on their independent, free thinking, freespirited natures (unlike the rest of the hidebound, indoctrinated, obedient guard.. *snicker*)

Page 309
To Lorenzo’s eyes, most of them looked tall and gaunt—but then, he was aware that Catachan had a higher than average gravity, which made its people more squat and muscular than most.

Catachans being death worlders come from a heavy gravity world. Which is probably meant to account for them being superhuman and shit (super strongh, tough, etc.) but I doubt oyu could pull off the heavy G shit without genetic engineering and that also has its own problems and drawbacks (enhanced strength means greater enregy usage, needed changes to skeletal strructure and respiratory systme... etc.. shit like that is complex and has been complained about before.)

I simply wave it away and say 'magic' by blaming it on the warp. If the Catachans believe they're badass, the warp can probably make them badass, or something.

Page 309
The Catachans were Jungle Fighters—elite deathworld veterans. The best the Imperium had to offer, they believed. The rank-and-file Guardsmen regarded them with a mixture of curiosity, admiration and, here more than in many places, outright resentment.

Again Catachans are elites and superbadass and great and wonderful and etc. About as great as you can get without being a Space MArine (especially an Ultramarine!) The attitude of the 'rank and file' described here is not unlike that ascribed to Storm Troopers, funny enough. :P

Page 309
Lorenzo saw the crudely printed header Eagle & Bolter, and needed to look no closer. Another propaganda broadsheet, doubtless full of consoling “news” about how the war here was being won.

The same sort of attitude the VArdan rifles in Fiftene Hours had to the propoganda crap, isn't it?

Page 310-311
“You’ve no discipline, no respect.”

“Where we come from,” murmured Muldoon, idly sharpening his night reaper blade on a piece of flint, “respect is earned, not given.”

“You come charging in here, all gung-ho, bad-mouthing our people, thinking you can just take over.”

Part of the whole Catachan experience being that they're very democratic, respect based and their leaders earn their positions rather than inheriting it or being awarded it.

Page 311
..Woods head-butted him—the fabled “Catachan Kiss”—and his nose splintered in a fountain of blood.

Catachan demonstrating the Catachan Kiss.

Page 318
Later, Donovits had tossed around a lot of phrases like “climate change” and “axis shifts”—but Lorenzo hadn’t cared much.

The Death World novel version of Fifteen Hours' scholar. Basically the nerdy science guy type, only Rambofied so he's far more badass.

Page 319
The whole of A Platoon, ogryns and all, was committed to this offensive, while two of D Platoon’s four squads were to set traps and lay in wait for reinforcements from the other ork camps. Other squads would target supply lines—hit and run tactics, to divide the enemy’s attention.

But, but but.. TRENCH WARFARE! Just like in the IA books, or in the pictures! THE PICTURES! Catachans, like the Elysians and Tallarn, have a more mobile approach to warfare.

Page 319
“You know how it is—we take out one, another takes its place."
"He’s actually got the beasts organised, to an extent. Their last few raids on us were almost well planned. And this ork has a keen sense of self-preservation. Most warbosses lead from the front, this one stays behind the lines. He’s become a legend to the orks, if only because he’s lasted longer than his predecessors."

Ork chain of command. And yet again another genius ork leader. Orks feature prominently in the IG novels for some reason.

Page 320
A jungle lizard, just a little larger than the one he had seen yesterday.
Lorenzo had seen lizards that could breathe fire and spit poison, or eviscerate a man with their claws in seconds. He had seen one burrow into a man’s stomach and attach itself to his nervous system, working him like a puppet. He had no idea of the capabilities of this one, but he didn’t doubt that it was deadly.

Again the jungle death lizards get a bit larger, (and ar mentioned growing bigger, some sort of tyranid like 'evolving' mechanism I guess.)

Also why not fire breathing lizards? SPACE DRAGONS ahoy. Or mind control lizards.

Page 322
Breakfast for the Catachans was a vegetable broth, brewed by Dougan from local plants. It was the best meal Lorenzo had tasted in weeks—made even more so when Storm dropped a hunk of lizard steak into his bowl.

Again the Catachans seem to eat better than regular guardsmen. Expert medics, fighters, wilderness types, trackers, and cooks I guess. Is there nothing they can't do?

Page 322
“You tell me what the Imperium is even doing here,” he grumbled over his soup. “We’re out at the rear end of nowhere, there aren’t any minerals here worth a light, and as for colonising, forget it! I’ll tell you this much: if the orks packed up tomorrow and left Rogar III, we wouldn’t be too far behind ’em. Seems to me the only reason we’re here is because they are, because the Emperor’s armies can’t be seen to be turning their backs on the enemy. The only reason the orks won’t leave is because they won’t turn their backs on us, so we just keep fighting.”

“Hey, steady on, sergeant,” said Woods. “You’re starting to sound like a heretic!”

Anotehr indication of how independently minded they are. What was that about 'divinely ordained command structure' and 'Guardsmen only obey and follow orders'?

Page 324-325
Lorenzo regarded Braxton with a newly sympathetic gaze. It occurred to him that he was only obeying orders, like anyone—and that, in his own milieu, he was probably an able fighter. But, like most Guardsmen, he would have been conscripted at the age of sixteen or seventeen, already an adult. Lorenzo had been taught to defend himself with a knife before he could walk. By the age of eight, Catachan children were expected to be able to tame a wild grox, a harsh lesson that some did not survive, but such was the nature of life on a deathworld. You could be forged in its jungle heat, or you could wither and die in it.
But the men of Lorenzo’s world—like those of all deathworlds across the Imperium—obeyed only one law: that of the jungle. Survival of the fittest.

The Guard seems to like them young - at least as conscripts. Kinda interesting that the novel implies conscripts are so common, when we know that the first option the Guard favors is skimming off the PDF - often the best 10% (or more), and that probably means something other than the new, young, raw recruits. It also implies 'adulthood' comes fairly early in the Imperium as an average.

Also catachan childhoods. blah blah badass....

Page 327
The men of A Platoon were arming themselves with autocannons and heavy bolters, and tuning up the three Sentinels that would precede them into battle.

I wonder if they're wheeled/bipod/tripod, or man portable autocannon/heavy bolters?

Page 327-328
..Muldoon had acquired the dyes of some indigenous plants, and was adapting his body camouflage to the local shapes and colours. A few other Catachans had followed his lead, Myers and Storm among them, glad to let the sun caress their skin. Lorenzo, however, was no artist, he would have to make do with his heavy jacket..

They're so badass they dont' even BOTHER wearing armour. They scare the bullets away with their hardcore-ness.

Page 330
A pink-headed, acid-spitting plant reared up beside the Catachans without warning, but Myers blasted it to pieces before it could open its mouth.

Recall the acid spitters are mantrap size, which are at least 4-5 m across. and able to engulf a thigh. Assuming roughly symmetrical call it 3000-5000 sq cm at least. Assuming burning (2nd-3rd degre) we're tlaking between 75-150 kilojoules. If we use 'flaying' as a benchmark (400 j per sq cm) we're talking between 1-2 MJ. Whihc all sounds impressive but a.) these are plants and not human flehs, so the comparison is not *quite* perfect, and b.) we dont quite know the duration.. it could be a single bolt, or several shots or a sustained barrage. Presumably he doesn't drain the powerpack so double digit kj at least per shot seems likely.

Page 330-331
They were about two hours out when Braxton reported to the nearest Jungle Fighters—Myers and Storm—that he thought they were being followed. Their only response was a pair of knowing grins,...
Dougan dropped back in the marching order until he was alongside Braxton. He gave the Validian an approving nod. “Mostly, if Sly Marbo doesn’t want to be seen or heard, he isn’t— sometimes not even by those of us who know he’s around. I’m impressed.”

Sly Marbo makes his appearance. One of the things is the contrast with how the Commissar is treated vs his aide. The Commissar is an ass, but the aide is somewhat likable, and scenes like this show he earns a bit of respect from the Catachans for various things. Again it reflects a difference between them and other Guard regiments that supposedly exists.

Page 331-332
..a cloud of insects blossomed from the undergrowth at his feet. Each was the length of one of Lorenzo’s fingers, with hairy black bodies and gossamer wings.
..his blade slicing through two more.
Lorenzo brought up his lasgun, squinting along its sights until he knew he could fire without hitting Muldoon. His las-fire fried several insects, as did simultaneous shots from Greiss, Woods and Donovits. But there were too many of them.
..The others rushed to stamp on the rest, or to skewer them with blades.

Lasfire burning away giant insects. Assuming 3rd degree burns again, and a 1 cm wide, 5-10 cm long insect (at least 2-3 burnt with every bolt) 1.5-3 kj per bolt at least assuming its 'fried' on all sides. Assuming the 1000 j per sq cm 'blowtorch' burns see here we're talking 30-60 kj per bolt (or possibly burst of bolts.. that isn't completely ruled out..) Probably more an approximation figure anyohw, but another indicator of 'order of magnitude' lasgun yield probably. It also indicats there are significant thermal effects in how they work.

Page 332
Myers and Storm had flung their packs to the ground, and they pulled out the constituent parts of a heavy flamer. They clicked them together, then Storm steadied the bulky weapon while Myers aimed it at the swarm. The first explosion of fire singed the ends of Muldoon’s hair, and lit up one flank of the insect cloud, sending them streaking to the ground as dying embers.

Heavy flamer.. Burns bugs MUCH better than lasfire. The Catachans like the VArdans can use heavy flamers, although it seems to be a two man effort here.

Page 332
On Catachan, there was a creature known as the vein worm, which burrowed into its victim’s flesh and laid its eggs in his bloodstream.

More Catachan homeworld goodness.

Page 332-333
He followed Donovits’ pointing finger to a delicate red flower sprouting from the trunk of a tree.

It had eight perfectly formed petals....

Greiss found another stick, and poked the head of the flower with it. Immediately, its petals snapped shut like a vice, gripping the stick so strongly that he couldn’t pull it free.
Greiss whipped out his fang, and sliced the head of the flower from its stem.
Greiss turned, and displayed the decapitated head to the others.
“but watch one of these things doesn’t grab your ankle."

Yet another dangerous flower.. ankle/foot grabbers that can be picked up in a single hand.

Page 335
"The mother of all marsh sharks. It hunted by radar, could detect a ripple on the surface from ten kilometres."

Radar-guided shark!

Page 336
"...took a Sentinel in. You saw them at the camp: armoured hunter-killer machines. Chainsaws, flamers…"

Catachan pattern sentinel.

Page 336
"We were firing our lasguns from the bank. The shots just glanced off this monster, gave it no more than a bad case of sunburn."

This could be - probably is - hyperbole, but it does at least suggest there is a non-trivial thermal damage component to lasweapons.

Page 339
Muldoon’s night reaper was smaller than Lorenzo’s fang, but just as deadly. Its blade was triangular, shaped to leave a large entrance wound that wouldn’t clot—and knowing Muldoon it was almost certainly poisoned.

Another Catachan knife different from Lorenzo's.

Page 344
"I don’t like doing this—but I’m ordering you to abandon this trooper for the sake of the mission!”
“Isn’t the sergeant’s decision no more. Sharkbait is my buddy. You want me to drop him now, and leave him here for the lizards and the birds, you’ll have to shoot me.”
The commissar turned to Greiss as if for support, but recoiled at the malicious half-grin on his face.

Again they don't think much of the Commissar, and will deliberately defy his orders if they choose to (and think they can get away with it.) It also shows that, when it comes to their own, they have a very strong personal loyalty at contrast with their 'survival of the fittest' mentality. That bond of comradeship is a key tenet of the CAtachans, at least according to this novel, and its probalby one of their more admirable traits.

Page 345
Lorenzo had just had time to draw his Catachan fang and lasgun. He was wielding the latter one-handed, keeping his knife hand back to protect his face.

Lasgun being used in single hand. Low recoil in other words, and also must be pretty lightweight or compact.

Page 345
...forcing its barrel down until he couldn’t pull the trigger for fear of blowing off his own foot.

The gun was useless to him now, a dead weight in his hand...

Lasgun can blow off a foot, presumably with single shots rather than full auto (they generally seem to use single shots here.) Depending on context and whether it means severing or blowing off/apart we migh figure at least single, maybe double digit kj. If burning is a factor and a 10x10 cm area on both parts of the foot (leg and foot) and we assume third degree burns or second we get between 5-10 kj (25-50 j per sq cm)

Page 351
They spoke few words as they treated their wounds with sterilising fluid and synth-skin.

They mention concern of diseases in the cuts before, so the sterilizing fluid probably is quite important in that regard.

Page 354
Storm found one, about a metre long, slender and black, coiled around a tree trunk, slithering its way down towards the roots. He glared into its slit eyes, challenging it, and the snake glared back. It hissed and struck, and—having ascertained that it was hostile, as if there had been much doubt—Storm caught it by its head, squeezing its mouth shut with his fingers. He yanked it from its perch, swung it over-arm and smacked its body hard into the ground like a whip. Then Storm casually tossed its lifeless body to Donovits, who would probably spend his watch teasing venom out of its glands for analysis.

That would *probably* Imply that the Catachan has reflexes close to or on par with the snake in order to do that, but it could just be more 'RAR JUNGLE FIGHTER BADASS-NESS' too. Still its not too shocking to think the Catachans have 'better than average' reflexes - or at least that some of them do. Deathworlds and heavy gravity and all that blah blah...

Page 359
He was leading a group of children—some of them his children, probably—on a hunt, and they were hanging on his every word of advice, looking at him with awe in their eyes.

Lorenzo pointed out a deadly spiker plant lurking in the foliage, and they gave it a wide berth. He heard snuffling ahead, and he held up his hand for silence.
The most fearsome of his world’s predators, near legendary throughout the Imperium. The beast after which his own regiment had been named. A Catachan Devil.

CAtachan field trips.. blah blah.. badass..

Page 364
A pair of yellow lizard eyes blinked at Lorenzo from under a flowering plant. He fried their owner with a las-round, just to test that his gun wasn’t clogged.

Earlier we noted the lizards were 20 cm long. Assumung 2 cm in diameter and 2ND or 3rd degree burns (25-50 j per sq cm) - call it 3-6 kj at least. Call it 50-100 grams for the lizard... Assuming 3rd degree scald or boiling (100-250 kj per kg) we're talking between 5 and 25 kj.

Page 366
They hadn’t gone far when a figure dropped out of a tree in front of them. It was a lithe man in camouflage fatigues and the customary bandana, with tanned skin and dark hair like Dougan’s. Lorenzo’s heart leapt—and it stayed in his mouth as he recognised this newcomer, not as the man they were looking for but as Sly Marbo.

He had never been this close to the legendary one-man army before. In other circumstances, he might have felt honoured—but Marbo seemed hardly to have seen Lorenzo. His face was taut, denied so much as a flicker of emotion, and his eyes were white and penetrating but dead inside, as he addressed Greiss.

Marbo appears and his appearance.

Page 367-368
The sergeant was right, he had lost comrades before—you couldn’t fight the Emperor’s war, nor grow up on Catachan, without seeing death on a regular basis, becoming inured to it almost. But it was different this time. Different, because he could hear Dougan’s words in his head: “I’m counting on you, Lorenzo.”

He had let Dougan down. He had let them all down. Lorenzo had been given his chance to be a hero, at last, and he’d failed. He had seen what happened, just a couple of times, to Jungle Fighters who lost the trust of their squad. It was as if they weren’t there, as if they didn’t exist. And he had felt no sympathy for those wretches. In this environment, if you didn’t have the trust of your comrades, you had nothing.


"You know, some of the others and me, we were talking—figured you were about due your earned name.”

“No!” said Lorenzo, firmly. “Not for this, sergeant.”

Greiss nodded, and Lorenzo suddenly realised that the grizzled sergeant knew what he was feeling, and understood. He hadn’t lost the sergeant’s trust. Quite the opposite—Greiss didn’t blame him for losing Dougan because he trusted him, because he knew Lorenzo had done all he could and that few among them could have done better, not even a veteran of Dougan’s experience.

Lorenzo felt ashamed, now, for not trusting him—for believing that his squad would turn their backs on him, when he should have known them better. He swore he’d make it up to them."

An interesting commentary on Catachan society re: 'hur hur' badass crap and the importance of the 'earned name' nickname. It isn't so much a personal self glorification thing (although there is that), but rather an indication that one is trusted, useful, and indeed valuable. It's an indicaton that you are part of the group, the culture, and you've earned your place. And that 'place' matters more than even death.

Which makes alot of sense. On a place like Catachan, where life expectancy will be low due to all the dangers, and the importance of working together and everyone pulling their weight... that sort of attitude would be natural. Indeed, we can see the complete lack of arrogance - and the emphasis on 'the group' in Lorenzo's own response. One of the recurring elements of the story from his POV is his desire for a name, and his lack of it (and lack of a chance to prove himself worthy.)

Page 377-378
Lorenzo saw it first: an acid spitter, lurking in the heart of a flowering bush...
The spitter’s aim was perfect, its liquid plume sluicing into the dirt at just the spot where they had been standing. A few seconds later, and Woods’ head would have entered its range.

A dual burst of las-fire destroyed the acid spitter. Then, without having to confer, both Lorenzo and Braxton pointed their guns at the undergrowth in Woods’ path, and began to blast the flowers that waited there.
He kept on firing, because it was the only way to end it. Each time he incinerated a red flower head, its roots thrashed for a few seconds longer and then fell limp, but that dreadful sound never seemed to ease.

Lorenzo had to cease firing when he was too blind to aim properly...
With Woods out of the danger area, however—and Landon freed now, along with Woods’ knife—lasguns could be employed again, and it wasn’t long before the final red flower was blasted to a cinder.

MORE flower destroying! Despite my flailing attmepts at calcing it last time, I can't say I really have much faith in those. Instead I think I'm going to go by flash burns although evne then I'm not sure how much human stuff can be applicable to plants. I figure if they get incinerated they either badly burn, or they just catch fire and burn up themselves rather than the lasers doing it. :P

According to the laser death ray site, 125 j per sq cm can cause flash burns, and we know the red flowers could be held in a hand and grab an entire foot. Figure maybe 10x10 cm petals should cover it, and at least two petals. Assuming both sides, we' retalking some 200-400 sq cm we're talking 25-50 kj total.

Now, problem is, is this single shot, several hsots, or what? We don't know. If we assume (not unreasonably, but completely out of the blue) it is a one second or so shot, we're talking maybe 3-4 shots for that 25-50 kj.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-04-23 11:51am

Part 2

Page 378
“It’s as if evolution has been speeded up here,” he considered. “The red flowers couldn’t catch their prey any more, because the insects—and we—had learned to keep out of their way, so they evolved a means of bringing their prey to them. Likewise for the spitters, they’ve learned how to spit further. The different species are even working together—but all this should take generations. Instead, it’s happened in a few days. I’d say it was impossible, but we’re seeing it with our own eyes.”
“And why they only started calling Rogar III a deathworld a few weeks ago,” said Armstrong.

“I’d guess,” said Donovits, “that it was the arrival of the orks and the Imperium that upset the ecological balance here. Since then…”

Again Donovits has an inquisitive, logical mind, and does the HERETICAL innovation and analysis, rather than superstition and rote action. Not unlike Scholar from Fifteen hours, yet again.

Page 380
“It must be as Donovits said, sir. The planet is adapting to our presence, finding new ways to fight us.”

“Maybe,” agreed Donovits, “but this goes beyond evolution, accelerated or not. If this really was a freshwater river—if it’s become so highly acidic in a matter of weeks—we’re talking about a sizeable ecological shift.”

Again the heretical LOGIC. It seems 'contrary' to the theme of 40K -eg people being ignorant and superstitious, but CAtachans aren't typical people, and a death world is not a place where you can afford to be stupid or ignorant - people probably can't rely wholly on techpriests either, or be bothered with rules and regulations. People like Brains would fill in a vital role in such an enviroment, especially if the techpriests in question were unfortunate enough to die.

Page 383
Lorenzo let out a breath of relief—and realised he had been holding it—as Braxton joined the others. Mackenzie had been rigid with worry, too. Who’d have thought the commissar cared about his adjutant as anything more than a human shield?

There's more to the commissar than pompous asshole. I'll give the novel that much at least.

Page 384-385
He had heard that the attrition rate of commissars assigned to Catachan squads was many times the Imperium average. These losses were officially dismissed as accidents, of course—a natural consequence of sending non-deathworlders, no matter how high-ranking, how well-trained, into an environment to which they weren’t suited. It was rarely acknowledged that there might be anything more to it than that—at least, it hadn’t happened within Lorenzo’s earshot. But everybody knew—or at least suspected—the unspoken truth.

The deathworlds of the Imperium bred men who were independent, proud, and loyal only to those who had earned their respect. That went double for Catachan.

Catachans and other Death worlders frag their commissars, and this is tolerated if not liked because of their value. Also INDEPENDENT minded...

Page 391-392
“He’s a good man, you know.”
“The commissar, I mean,” he continued. “You’ll see that when you’ve worked beside him for a while.”
“I know he’s been tough on you all. He’s fresh out of training. Maybe he’s trying too hard to prove he can do the job.”
“It’s him or Greiss.”
“You know, if it comes down to that,” said Braxton, “I… I have to…”

Braxton and Lorenzo talk about the Commissar and the impending conflict. Again it is one of the few (good) aspects about the book.. it breaks away from the sterotypes at least in certain ways that are good, if nothing else and it creates a tension.

Page 400
"See under the dirt here? Scorch marks from where Steel Toe was bitten by that critter on Vortis. It shorted the circuits, sent a lethal shock across its own mandibles. Steel Toe couldn’t walk for a fortnight, till we got the leg fixed, but he saved our bacon that day.”

Augmetics (at least the ones these Catachans use) are augmetic.

Page 408
It was taller than a man, but hunched, enormous arms hanging down to its knees, its shoulders broad and muscular. It was wearing dulled armour—and, although the darkness made it difficult to pick out colours, the skin that showed through the metal plates had a decidedly green tint.
Then it turned away from him, grunting as it fumbled with its protective metal layers, and he realised it had only come out here to relieve itself.

Like in Ragnar's claw, orks clearly have a digestive tract of some kind and waste byproduct. To put it in a clinical way.

Also its a damn heavily armoured ork

Page 411
...las-fire barked out of the jungle, striking the foremost orks and passing through them into their comrades. Lorenzo felt like cheering. At least five, six, seven of his fellow Catachans were alive and fighting back..

Lasfire overpenetrates the hell out of the first rank of Orks to hit the next rank behind. This is rather common in Steve Lyons novels (we see it again in Ice Guard), and it shows up again later on against Orks. We can also calc (approximately) the size of the wounds based on the level of penetration.

We know that Orks are basically several times more massive than humans on average, which corresponds to being about 1.25-1.5 times taller/wideer/thicker in a given dimension. Assuming a 20-25 cm thick person, and that the second lasburst penetrates ~15 cm deep (35-50 cm total penetration, in other words) we're talking around 44-75 cm total penetration of Orks (approximately).

Now, there's the wound diameter. Two ways to do it. The 'easy' way is to simply assume a diameter of around a couple meters - as we know from various sources (13th Legion, Dawn of War, Gaunt's Ghosts, Cadian Blood, etc.) lasweapons tend to create wounds at least a few cm in diameter (or at least the beam witdh is that wide)

The (slightly) more complicated way is assuming that it is a laser (and many authors tend to, even if the effects don't match up) is that it's a real laser and it is behaving like the 'pulse train' blaster style model Luke Campbell envisions (Laser Death Ray site guy, you've no doubt heard me preaching his virtues?) Now Mr Campbell has speculated that lasers have certain limits on theiraspect ratio - that is, the diameter can't exceed the length by a certain amount without problems developing which he explains in the link above. Basically it comes down to a 20-25:1 ratio being the probable limit for most plausible lasers. with the 44-75 cm aspect above, we get a diameter around 1.76 to 3.75, which fits fairly well with the 'simple' approach I figured above.

The question then becomes what is the actual mechanism. Conservatism (and consistency, since I'm using Luke's approach) is that its a 'blaster' style laser. For example, here (which is replicated on the atomic rockets here, 50 200 joule pulses means 10 kj per shot (bear in mind Luke later notes he may have over-estimated the energy by a factor of two, so it could be 5 kj, I was never quite sure about that.) which provides a would diameter of 2.2 cm and a peentration depth of 53 cm.. which fits well within the estimated ranges above (call it double digit kj to be safe). Going by the calculator and a parameter of 50 pulses, 5 mm spot size and 10 microseconds between pulses can mean 20-50 kj per shot (basically 400-1000 J per pulse, a wound diameter of 2.5 to 4 cm, and a depth from 62-77 cm roughly)

The other approach (for a CW laser) Luke notes here it takes 40 kj to drill out a 1 cm diameter hole - near as I can tell he's figuring a ~20 cm thick person 1 cm in diameter, and vaporizing a body density equal to that of water. Assuming it jus tpunches through two people nearly we're talking at least 80 kj, but more probably hundreds of kj, even several MJ or more (I estimate a 1.76-3.75 cm, 44-75 cm thick hole vaped through would be between 100-800 or so grams vaporized, which is approximately 250 kj to 2 MJ).

One other way to measure it is to assume burns inflicted along the wound track perpeindcular to the path of the beam. for the above depth/diameter penetrations, we get between 243 and 883 square cm roughly in terms of internal area. Assuming between 2nd degree (20 j per sq cm) and severe third degree (call it 200 j per sq cm to cover a rough 'order of magnitude) we get between 5 and 17.7 kj for second degree burns, maybe twice that for third, and 49-177 kj for 200 j per sq cm.)

Now before anyone starts bitching (or glorifying) the calcs, bear in mind that niether one is inherently 'better', because we don't really know how the particular lasguns work here. We've had cases where both CW or 'pulse train' might apply, nevermind all the other examples (exploding chunks of body, or just burning.) - one obviously produces more energy than the other (CW vs pulsed) but as I've noted before, more energy does not neccesarily mean better or more damage - it can also mean 'very inefficient' - but more energy can also mean increased thermal effects, and that might also be beneficial (severe burns, cauterization, etc.) So it could go either way, and it could be bad or good depending on circumstances and requirements. :P

In any case, double digit kj per shot seems a safe bet, I'd say, with a good chance towards triple digit if we're talking more thermal.

Page 412
Lorenzo broke cover, letting out the loudest, wildest war cry in his repertoire, his finger locked around the trigger of his lasgun so that it fired repeatedly into the enemy mass.

Lasguns are, unsurprisingly, fully automatic, although it doesnt say much about rate of fire.

Page 413
Lorenzo snapped off a round, the shot narrowly missing the ork though the flash sent it howling and reeling in pain—but he’d pay for the second’s distraction it had caused him.

Lasfire evidently causing blindness as a distraction.

Page 416-417
He strained to reach his backpack, unfastened it, and rummaged out the two demolition charges with which he’d been equipped. They weren’t really for combat use—the Catachans employed them to clear hard-going areas of the jungle when they were in a hurry and stealth wasn’t such an issue—but they were just what he needed now.

The first charge landed with a plop beside the chained door, when no orks were looking that way. Lorenzo set the second to detonate only two seconds after, and he felt his palm sweating as he held the cold sphere in his hand, counting down.

Catachan demo charges in action.

Page 418-419
"“Hey, Lorenzo, you noticed? There isn’t… isn’t half as many of the greenskins as Greiss said there’d be. Thirty… thirty to one, my eye! More like ten to one."

Commentary on the actual ratio of Orks to humans. 15-10 to one. Which for 10 troopers is around 100-150 orks, for a loss of 3 of their own. Of course, Marbo helped.

Page 419
Lorenzo had seen vehicles like this before. It was the ork equivalent of a tank—a battlewagon, they called it—manned by a greenskin mob.
The battlewagon had two guns, like eyes on stalks protruding before it. The one on the right flared, and Lorenzo pushed Muldoon aside as a shell whistled by and thumped into the dirt, and filled the world with light and sound again.

Ork battlewagon.

Page 424
His questing fingers found a hard knot of synth-skin, between the ribs in his right side, and he winced at the sudden white hot memory of an axe blade scything through his flesh.

More 40K medical stuffs.

Page 425
...Lorenzo realised that it was up to him to tell Sharkbait Muldoon’s last story, to keep it alive. He had that honour, and that responsibility. So he took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a moment as he picked his words, and he told it.

He emphasised how brave Muldoon had been. He mentioned the gash in his head, because it made him seem all the more heroic for having overcome such an injury—and he exaggerated the number of orks on the wagon, that he had killed, because after all it had been dark and there’d been so much smoke and there could have been fourteen or fifteen of them, and Lorenzo didn’t want to sell his comrade short. Woods listened to the story with growing admiration, and when it was done he breathed in through his teeth and agreed that Sharkbait had died well. Lorenzo felt an odd sort of pride at having been there, at having seen something so inspiring, but most of all at knowing he’d done justice to his fallen comrade’s memory, and somehow everything seemed a little brighter then.

I quoted this passage for two reasons. On a purely practical level, it tends to indicate that alot of the abilities attributed to Catachans may be... exaggerated. Indeed we'll see more of this later, so that's worth bearing in mind (one aspect of the story in fact emphasizes how different the CAtachans are from the rest of the Guard and how they don't think like them, and how people don't really seem to know or understand them - but if they spent time with them, they might.)

Which leads into the other reason - the part that plays into who and what the Catachans (and indeed many Death Worlders) and how their enviorment and culture shape them. A Death world is a dangerous place, and that menas low lifespans and death are an accepted part of life, and growing old is seen as both unusual and even abhorrent (I'll touch on this in a bit.) In that sort of enviroment, planning for the future - at least on an individual level - seems to take on less importance than in making sure you 'leave your mark' - both in your society and in the memories of your comrades. In the case of the Catachan soldiers, it's meant to memorialize the contributions they made - the good they did in the time they existed before they died - and the exaggeration seems to be more.. ornamental. To commemorate their existence and their passing. Heck, all the troopers care a great deal about their legacy and this is drivne home many times - they aren't concerned about dying - culturally that's an ingrained part of their culture - but it matters whether or not they die well. Extended to Catachan as a culture, this probably means what matters more to their society is what they leave behind for future generations, and that probably means more than just a historical legacy.

An interesting implication here is that while Catachans are rather democratic (they are lead by those they respect, and they are very independent minded) they are as a society focused less on the individual and more on the group as a whole, not unlike the tau.

As a further aside, I'll note that the issue of their 'nicknames' - like 'Hardhead'. 'steel toe', Sharkbait, 'hotshot', etc. all reflect this 'legacy' idea as well. It isn't so much ego related, as it is a mark of respect and that one has lived (And died) well.

Mind you, I find all the 'hur hur' badass crap still pretty irritating, so while I can understand it I still don't particularily like it. Then again, I suppose the Cadians have their own share of wank. :P

Page 426-427
"Old Hardhead was whispering, trying to hush the commissar, but he was getting hysterical.”

“That’s what the light does to you,” said Lorenzo sombrely. “It plays on your hopes, your fears. And Mackenzie was already so afraid…” He fell silent as he realised what he’d said. He’d admitted to a weakness, in front of Woods of all people—a soldier who, if he’d ever feared anything, would certainly not have confessed to it.

It didn’t seem to matter. “Makes sense,” said Woods. “I think, deep down, Mackenzie maybe wanted to believe—he wanted to be convinced—but that light was just too damn strong for him.”

“What about Braxton?”

“Give him his due.” Woods conceded, “he tried. He crawled forward, put himself in the danger zone, just so he could talk to Mackenzie, back up what Old Hardhead was saying.

Again interesting for two things. On one, it reinforces the whole idea about Catachan Culture I just outlined (Lorenzo doesnt like admitting weakness, but admitting it doesn't matter to Woods because the information mattered more than personal issues.

Also the way in which the Commissar (or at least, his final moments) is handled is, IMHO rather nice. The idea that a Commisar is newly minted, and might have his own doubts, fears, and insecurities.. and might become an asshole as a form of overcompensation... is rather human and understandable. In a way, Mackenzie was as dedicated to his job and training as the Catachans are, and he may very well be a good man as Braxton says, deep down. It's just a conflict of the cultures and the liability he represented to the way they do things - their survival was tied up in the way they had to do things, and letting an outsider (like Mackenzie) interefere puts everyone at risk - but its unlikely Mackenzie would understand.

Indeed, the Catachans are willing to respect him even if they don't like him, and now at his loss it seems like they actually don't hate him. Maybe even pity him. (Greiss even tried reasoning with the Commissar rather than just shooting him.) Earlier one of the Catachans tried to kill the commissar by shaking him off a line across the aformentioned acid river, but the Commisar survived by his own strength and will and earned (Grudging) respect from the Deathwordlers.

Braxton's treatment by the Deathworlders is a contrast to Mackenzie - despite being an outsider, he actually isn't as much of an impediment and seems to actually contribute quite ab it throughout the series, so he is trated as more 'part of the team' than the Commissar is. Which is why it is mentioend that Greiss saves Braxton even as Mackenzie blows himself up.

Page 430
“There aren’t half as many dead orks about these parts as there ought to be. I think we got lucky, Hotshot. I think our job was half-done before we got here.”

Again commentary on probable ork/human kill ratios.

Page 430
Woods repeated the story as the sergeant listened patiently. This time, there were twenty orks on the battlewagon, and Muldoon had to hack his way through four more to reach it, but Lorenzo didn’t bother to correct the details. Woods’ version made a better story, and Muldoon deserved his glory.

Again a further level fo exaggeration is pasted onto the story Lorenzo told, but this is accepted practice and may even be ritualized for the Catachans (Eg how much exaggeration is permitted.) It's part of that whole legacy thing, but it also points to their feats being alot more impressive in story than they are in reality.

Page 432-433
There had been a touch of admiration in Old Hardhead’s voice, but now it faded, and his shoulders slumped. Lorenzo knew how fond he had always been of Woods.

“He didn’t make it.”

“If it hadn’t been for that damn slug in his leg…” Greiss was silent for a moment, then with pride in his voice, he continued, “He kept fighting. Even though he’d shattered his spine, he was on the ground, and the orks were piling onto him… I should’ve got there sooner.”

“No, sergeant!” Lorenzo protested automatically.

“Don’t give me that,” Greiss growled. “If any of us had to end his days a cripple, better it be an old warhorse with no fight left in him. Better it be someone who’s had his day, whose story’s been told.”

Lorenzo was still digesting the full import of what Greiss was saying. “…end his days a cripple…” They were on a stealth mission, without backup, unable to vox for an airlift—and even if they could get Woods back to an Imperium facility, it would certainly have been the last thing he wanted. It was unlikely a medic could do much for him. The only person who could save him now from a fate worse than death was Greiss.
“He’ll be remembered,” was all he could think of to say. It seemed to cheer Greiss up a little.
The last thing he saw as he left that hut, as he left another comrade behind forever, was Greiss leaning over Woods, shaking him gently awake, telling him it was time and pressing the lasgun into his hands. And Woods’ smile—not afraid, but relieved. Grateful, even.

This also demonstrates anpother aspect of Catachans - growing old is abhorrent to them. Greiss made a comment on this beofre, wanting to go out 'in a blaze of glory' before he got older. Also for all that badassery.. they're still very much human, and individuals DO matter. At least withint he squad. Greiss has something of a fatherly attitude towards his troopers.

Page 436
Their lasguns were low on energy, too, Myers wore a belt of strung-together power packs, letting the dwindling sunlight do what it could to recharge them until they could build a fire to do the job properly.

As we know, lasguns have built in solar (light) and thermal (heat) chargers to recharge the power pack, which is a huge ability in terms of logistica nd flexibility. The interesting thing here is that its implied that throwing it in the fire is actually more effective at recharging than simply using solar power. It makes me wonder if they just set it next ot the fire or throw it in - the latter is faster but it damages the pack and makes it less reliable (fewer shots and more prone to failure/overload.)

An interesting implication about this might be that you could even use body heat to recharge powerpacks (any light or heat after all..) - tech exists today that could do something like that. Assuming 100-200 watts from a human body (surface area of about 18,000 sq cm for men) which is about nearly .01 watts per sq cm. Not alot ofr a powerpack (About 1.5 watts for a 150 sq cm surface area facing the body) but in emergencies every little bit can count, and such would be quite useful for powering or recharging other systems that run on electrical power (sensors, comms, etc.) Also human power output can vary depending on activity - more active humans might generate several hundred watts of power, whilst runners can generate over a kilowatt, and cyclists nearly twice that for short bursts, but it still probably wouldn't provide much benefit most of the time except over the long term.

In any case we can figure they're spending about a full day (12 hours) recharging the pack. We dont know which facing does it, but logic suggests to me that the biggest facing (the one facing outwards, towards the sunlight) is the liekly source, although for all we know its built into all facings. For a 10x15 cm powerpack, and a sunlight intensity of .14 J per square cm, we're talkign 21 watts. For top or bottom, it would be 7 watts, for the sides we're talking 10.5 watts. So it could be as little as 7 or as much (for all those) 43 watts for potential sides facing. If we assume the body heat contributes something we might add another watt or two potentially. For a 12 hour period we're talking between 300 kj and 1.86 MJ 'absorbed' ideally.

Which all sounds nice and impressive.. but there are certain caveats. For one thing, the efficiency of conversion is one issue. Accoridng to here and here we might figure potential efficiencies are around 15-30% at least, although I suspect higher for solar power, possibly up to the full value I estimated,, so the 'actual' output could be 50-100 kj for that 12 hour period (on one end) to 'only' 300-600 kj for that 12 hour period at the other scale.

But there is another (and bigger) complication There is also the fact sunlight varies in 'strength' throughout the day and quite a bit quite a bit probably in fact - 1.4 kw per square metre is more an ideal, and I've heard 1 kw per sq m is more likely (so .1 watt per square cm) and it can vary to as low as 200-400 watts at daybreak and evening. If we 'averaged' it out we might figure 600-700 watts for a 12 hour period is maybe more likely, so The above figure is probably more like 1/2 to 1/3 the actual amount easily.

And yet again, I'm using EArth as a benchmark and I dont think even on Earth hours in the day are exactly precise (it could be slightly more or less, and who knows days may last longer on some worlds due to various factors, nevermind the intensity of sunlight may vary) Still even a few hundred kj or so added for some extra firepower is impressive. 300 kj for 60 shots is still 5 kj per shot, which for a 'blaster' style laser is damn impressive (as I've noted already.)

Page 438
“Hotshot fired at…” Lorenzo began, then was unable to say Dougan’s name, “…the first one. It didn’t seem to react at all.”

“They don’t feel pain,” said Greiss. “You remember what Brains said. We’ve got to stop thinking of these things as living creatures. They’re less than that—less than orks, even. They don’t have hearts—or if they do, they sure aren’t beating anymore. No internal organs, no nerves, no pressure points, and I doubt their brains are getting much use."

A probable indicator to the way lasguns in this book inflict damage on targets - eg not unlike bullets they try to inflict physical trauam on organs. That means whre you shoot them matters quite a bit.

An interesting side aspect of this may be that lasfire actually does inflict significant pain or related effects (like a more lethal Pulsed Energy Projectile) as a side effect as well as any thermal/mechanical damage it inflicts. Which could also help to explain knockdowns as well.

Page 440
He heard a yell, “Aim for their kneecaps!” and he followed Armstrong’s suggestion and tried to shoot the nearest zombie’s leg out from under it. He got in four shots before it was upon him.
The zombie swung around to follow him but a bone snapped, and its leg buckled, and Lorenzo knew his las-shots had done some good after all.

4 shots to not quite sever the leg, but weakening the bone enough to snap it. Not going to calc it in this case, since its hard to do. We dont know (for example) if the 4 shots hit the same spot weakening it (and how it weakened it) or if the shots were severing flehs as well as bone and it took 4 shots to punch through the target. Hell he may not have totally hit the bone with all those shots.

Furthermore, (as the followin gquote indicates) heavy flamers were used to torch some of the zombies, and those who came out were those who were still able to walk, so it probalby would skew any calcs I could try doing in any case :P

Page 440
He rolled, to put out any flames that may have taken hold of his clothing. Then he sprang to his feet, lasgun in hand, to find that the other zombies had suffered the same fate as his. The combination of flames and las-fire had destroyed their cohesion, and they were collapsing at the feet of the relieved Jungle Fighters.

Like I said, the zombies were killed by combination of flame and lasfire.

Page 441-442
“Let me see your knife,” he demanded. Braxton showed him the small, blunt blade he had been using, and Greiss expressed his contempt for what he called an “Imperial pig-sticker”
..Woods’ devil claw—at over a metre long, more a sword than a knife..
He admired its well-honed edge, and gauged how light and well balanced it was thanks to its hollow blade, half-filled with mercury.

THATS NOT A KNIFE, THAT'S A KNIFE! Also.. really? A metre long? Yeah that is a swor,d where the fuck does he hang it, and why do they need knives that long, really? Even a can get awy with being less than that. Fuckin Catachan wank.

Page 448-449
The zombie was preparing to strike again, and Lorenzo turned the lasgun around and pulled the trigger, but it jammed. Mud in the barrel.
He plunged his fingers into his lasgun barrel and scooped out as much mud as he could. Then he dug the butt into his shoulder, aimed for the second zombie and fired. The gun whined and let out a feeble light. The second zombie lurched closer. Lorenzo pumped the trigger again, and on his fourth attempt, the lasgun finally coughed up dirt and struck true.

Mud apparently can jam a lasgun and prevent it from firing. I wonder if this means the las-shot is somehow not energetic enough to dislodge or vaporize the mud? Assuming 2~ cm diameter barrel and about 7 or so cm deep, I'd figure 3-4 grams or so of mud woudl be lodged in the barrel. ASsuming it reaches boiling point of 200 C given a specific heat of 2500 J per kg*C for mud.. it shoudl take 1500-2000 J to boil the mud (estimated,) *shrugs* oh well.

Page 449
He had aimed for the knee again, it took four shots to penetrate through to the bone, and then the oncoming creature collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut, and disappeared below the surface.

By that time, the first zombie had somehow managed to right itself and was bearing down on him. This one took six shots, and fell less than a metre from him, hands reaching for him.

4, then six shots to penetrate through 'to the bone' in the Ork zombie's body. WE dont know what it means for penetrate, if its hitting flesh or striking bone, but the foruth shot seems to sever bone. 2-3 1 kj pulse could easily punch thorugh several cm of bone. If we assume 10 cm of ork tissue to punch through first... a couple kj per shot could handle that too, esp given the 'leathery' nature of Ork skin.

That said... the novel tends to present Catachan lasguns as being extremely penetrating (punching through multiple Ork and gretchinb odies with no trouble) so the idea that you'd need multiple shots to punch through the same spot seems.. odd. It might be they're on or near the same spot, trying to punch through the bone and sever the leg In which case, 10-20 kj could be enough to punch through tissue ot the bone (or through it, depending on if the 10 cm radius were to the bone, or through the whole leg) plus the few extra kj to break the bone. Could go either way I guess, so we have again that 'single to double digit' kj thing.

Of course if this were 'CW' type lasers as discussed before.. it would be far more energetic.. double digit kj easily. Again no one approach is the best.

Page 449
Greiss had seen what was happening, and was just finishing up with his own opponent. Astonishingly, he had whittled into it with his Catachan fang until he had exposed its spine, which he had then seized and yanked right out of its body. He tossed the wretched creature’s remains aside..

Catachan.. badass.. yadda..

Page 449
Storm was firing in from the sidelines, and as Lorenzo watched, the first of Braxton’s attackers fell beneath his las-fire at last. Storm switched targets, and Lorenzo joined him, their shots converged on the back of the second zombie’s knee and burnt through it in seconds.

Lasfire 'burnt through' to legs in seconds, which I'll take to mean a couple seconds.. again 10-20 kj could 'blast' through that, so we're probably talking single digit shots

Page 450-451
Armstrong’s las-bolts despatched the final zombie, and he was in trouble now too, he wasn’t too far from the edge, but with his useless arm he had no way of reaching it.

AGain firing a lasgun one handed.

Page 455
They ate, and their conversation turned to the usual subject: to comrades gone but not forgotten.

They spoke of Hotshot, Sharkbait and Brains’ defiance of the ork hordes. They had all heard the stories by now, of course, but it helped to reiterate them. It comforted them, and ensured that they had the details right, for the next time the stories were told. They talked of Landon’s bravery, and of the heroic fight Steel Toe Dougan had no doubt put up against the blue light. In time, their conversation turned to earlier exploits, and they found these stories were even more worth the telling because Armstrong and Guardsman Braxton were new to their squad and hadn’t heard them before.

Greiss recalled how, as an eager young rookie, Hotshot Woods had rushed an ork sniper that had pinned the squad down, miraculously reaching it without a scratch and wrestling it from its emplacement. Myers and Storm took it in turns to relate how Brains Donovits had survived an encounter with a stranded Chaos Space Marine, simply by outthinking it, and were pleased when Braxton asked questions and made expressions of admiration in all the right places. Then they all listened attentively to Armstrong’s fresh tales of heroes from his former squad, and expressed a collective wish that they could have known these great men and witnessed their deeds.

Myers followed that with the tale of how Old Hardhead had earned his name. It was a story from before Lorenzo’s time, of course—before Myers’, for that matter—but they had both heard it often enough. Trooper Greiss, as he had been then, had been part of a single platoon that had taken down a Chaos Dreadnought. He had lain some of the snares into which it had walked, and planted a mine on its leg as it had struggled to free itself. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to outran the explosion that had ripped the Dreadnought apart. Or maybe it hadn’t been fortune but fate that had lodged a sizeable hunk of shrapnel in Greiss’ skull. The surgeons had reportedly written him off, but his strength of character had buoyed him to a full recovery.

Catachan story time. The whole concept of earned names, the tales of individuals (and the importance of those tales living on in someone) and hell, their whole society - the 'catachan is rough and noone will coddle you, so live to the fullest and go out early in a blaze of glory' sort of thing.

Page 456
“Didn’t I hear you were working on a story about us?”

“We give you enough material yet?” put in Myers.

“Ease off, you two,” said Greiss. “You know what those rags are like. The higher-ups wouldn’t let Braxton print any of this stuff if he wanted to. They’re only interested in their own truths.”

“I wish I could argue with that,” said Braxton, “but you’re right, yes. I always wrote what I was told to write—about successful missions, and ground that we’d gained. I don’t think half of it was even true. I didn’t ask.”

“Never saw a broadsheet that was any different,” remarked Myers.

“And I thought that was alright,” continued Braxton, “because it was all about morale. That was what Mackenzie always said, and the commissar before him. Put the best possible spin on it, they said. Tell the troops about the overall campaign, about the Imperium resisting its enemies, and remind them why they’re doing it. Don’t let them dwell on the details, how people like them—like us—are suffering and dying for the cause. Your story would have been no different. Just a few lines about your great victory, maybe a name check for the commissar. They’d never have let me write about Woods or Dougan or the others.”

“All the more reason for us to make it back alive,” said Storm. “Because if we don’t tell those stories, who will?”

“I will,” swore Braxton. “One day. I’ll tell them how it is with you—how you make sure that everyone matters, every life counts for something.”

We get a redux of that whole 'Imperial propoganda' absurdity we saw in Fifteen hours, but from a slightly different POV.

Page 465
He searched his pockets, found the capsule of herbs that Donovits had given him some months ago. A generic antitoxin, he had called it—though he had warned it wouldn’t work in all situations. Deathworlds, Donovits had said, had a habit of evolving poisons faster than men could combat them—and, Lorenzo supposed gloomily, he would have said that went double for a world like Rogar III.

Donovits apparently knew how to brew medicine for the CAtachans too. Which is something you'd normally expect a techpriest to do but..

Page 466
Myers’ las-bolts struck the stunted creatures unerringly, often finding the best angles from which to penetrate two or three of them. Two gretchin fell, and the remaining three were deterred...

As noted before, we've got lasfire penetrating several gretchin at once.. 2 or e, which could mean a good 40-60 cm at least (if we assume front ot back) or possibly half a metre to a metre or more (side to side penetration) For the sake of argument I assume between 40 cm and ~120 cm, which translates to a diameter of between 2 and 6 cm Assuming 2 cm diameter and ~40-50 cm penetration we're talking around 7-8 kj (125 j per pulse and around 60 pulses) 20 kj for 2.56 cm diameter and 77 cm penetration. 5.6 cm wound diameter and 79 cm of penetration would be 100 kj, and 150 kj would be closer to 6.2 cm diameter, 100 cm penetration. 7 cm and 120 cm would be aorund 225 kj.

Page 467
In the event, it was spared that decision. One of Greiss’ las-bolts passed through the ork’s thick skull and fried its brain.

Ork Brains are probably not much bigger than human ones givne Xenology and the 3rd edition Ork codex, so I'm gussing 1.5-2 kg for an Ork brain roughly. If we assume 3rd degree burns or so to 'fry' (scaliding temps) it would be around 100-150 kj per kg to do.. which is around 150-300 kj for the las bolt. If we assume flash burns to fry the brain and assume 10x10 cm to a side (front and back) and 10x15 cm from the sides and top, we're talking anywhere from 100-800 sq cm 'fried' depending on exact calcs. ASsuming 2nd to 3rd degree burns (25-50 J per sq cm at least) we'd be talking 2.5 to 40 kj.

3rd edition codex for orks and Xenology also makes out ork skull sto be at least an inch think or so (call it 2-3 cm) we'd probably be talking at least 2-4 kj to penetrate the bone with a diameter of 1.5-2 cm hole made on top of cooking the brain (however its done) Again high single to low double digit kj seems highly likely.

Page 475
He wasn’t sure why, didn’t know where these feelings were coming from, because it wasn’t as if the Imperium had never strip-mined a world.

Because it does.

Page 481
He had eyes only for their master, with its tough, leathery skin and its gleaming new axe, twice the size of the other orks’ weapons and with ceremonial trappings. He had no doubt that this was him. The warboss. Big Green. He even knew, with a flash of insight, what the strange-looking ork with the staff had to be, why it was getting preferential treatment. The source of Big Green’s vaunted intelligence. An ork psyker—a weirdboy!

Weirdboy intel services. Psychic spying!

Page 483-484
He had taken a step back to brace himself—and his foot had slipped into the lava stream.
Lorenzo held his breath but the warboss’ self-control was incredible. He triumphed over what must have been searing agony to keep his balance—and he loomed over the Catachan with his axe raised high, though one of his legs now tapered to a dripping, cauterised stump at the ankle.

Ork warboss durability.

Page 486
But Big Green had earned his position for a reason. Some warbosses had been known to go toe to toe with Space Marines. Displaying the same lightning reflexes with which he’d met the Jungle Fighters’ first attack upon him, the warboss caught the axe’s blade between both hands, a centimetre from his slavering sneer, and twisted the weapon right out of his startled guard’s hands.

Warboses can go head to head with Astartes, which suggests your typical ork is not quite at Astartes level in a general sense, but may (in some wayS) match their performance.

Page 488
The ork leader was facedown in the lava but still thrashing, and Lorenzo placed his good hand on the back of the warboss’ head and, releasing a strangulated roar of utter hatred from the back of his throat. He pushed down…

Then he was scrambling towards Greiss...

Lorenzo whirled around and the warboss was standing, molten lava streaming from his face, most of the skin burnt away, but he was coming at them again…

Greiss was firing at him, pumping las-round after las-round into the warboss’ chest, and Lorenzo didn’t think it would be enough—but then there was las-fire from behind Big Green too, and a bedraggled, soot-blackened figure emerged through a haze of dust—and even as the ork leader reached his targets, as he made to bring his axe down, it was one of Guardsman Braxton’s rounds that finally sizzled through his skull and put out the feral light in those eyes once and for all.

For the most part it's just further reflection fo how damn durable Ork Warbosses can be, but Braxton's last round is calcable.

In execution Hour, we learn that Ork boss skulls are 'inches thick' - and from teh 3rd edition Ork Codex and Xenology we learn typical ork skull sare easily an inch or more thick as it is. ASsuming at least 2 or 3 inches we're talking a good 5-8 cm of bone to penetrat.e Maybe a bit more but 10 cm is probabl yunlikely even allowing for a giant warboss (we're talking a skull thickness as wide as my fist)

For a train of pulses (in this case) we're talking at least 6-7 kj, and perhaps as many as 10-12 kj for a 2 cm diameter hole in the skull (ignoring tissue penetration and damage to brain).

Page 496
He recognised the multiple scorched entrance wounds of las-rounds on its green skin.

Commentary on lasgun wounding mechansims. They seem to punch holes of a sort, but do quite noticable (significant) thermal damage as well.

PAge 496
Lorenzo sensed, rather than heard, movement behind him, and he knew it could only be one man. He turned to greet Sly Marbo with a cool nod.

The legendary Catachan stood just a few metres away, but Lorenzo could hardly make him out against the greens and browns of his background. He recognised his dead, white eyes, though, and his deep voice, empty of emotion.

“Did you get him?” asked Sly Marbo.

“Big Green?” said Lorenzo. “Yes, yes, we got him.”

Marbo nodded. He had heard what he needed to know. He left without a footstep or a rustle, seeming to melt into the jungle without moving at all. For a moment, Lorenzo fought the discomfiting feeling that he hadn’t moved, that he was still there, watching with his white eyes. But that was just paranoia, he knew. Marbo was gone—and it was unlikely Lorenzo would see him again.

Marbo makes his last appearance. I still stand by the idea that there is something preternatural, even supernatural about him. Maybe he's not a psyker per se, but he's got more than just talent or badass or whatever.

Page 500
“Best thing we could do now would be to leave this world alone. That’s all it wants. But the Imperium won’t leave as long as the orks are here, and the orks won’t leave until we do. Neither side can afford to turn its back on the other, so we’ll just keep fighting.”

“Over nothing,” said Braxton.

“Over nothing.” Lorenzo agreed. “And in the meantime, our violence will breed violence in turn.

They only started calling Rogar III a deathworld a month ago. You have to wonder, what will it be like in another month? A year? A decade?”

Because its a 40K IG book, it has to end on a fairly grimdark note of utter futility. Although it is mitigted somewhat by the RAR BADASS CAtachans being enthused about the planet becoming even more of a hellhole in the immediate future (braxton is supposedly a Catachan now by adoption, or something.)

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Zinegata » 2013-04-23 10:12pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:In theory yes. The old fluff (for example) often had PDF stripping Hive worlds of excess population by mass conscription of Hive Gangers. Considering how violent underhives were, how wars there were often fought (at least by Necromunda) and the sorts of firepower they had access to, it probably didn't take long to train them to be soldiers.

Funnily, I the red-shirt world is pretty much following this model. Just pick up a bunch of hivers, declare them to have volunteered for the Emprah's service, and ship them to the nearest war zone.

As I recall the 'other' stuff like Psykers and enginseers gets added through cooperative pacts the Munitorum has with the AdMech. Like the officers, they don't come 'organic' to thr troops, at least not normally.

The homeworld of the feature regiment of Vae Victis has a Psykana Scholastica facility and considerable AdMech concessions (land basically leased to the AdMech); the former providing the Psykers and the latter providing Tech-Priests (albeit the latter is really just getting rid of Tech-Priests they don't like).

And yes, I'm that much of a heretic, stealing a Psyker Academy for my setting. I justify it by making Brennus a formerly D&D-land (or maybe Bretonnia, with Knight-Errants and Psyker Damsels) world that was a recruitment center for a Space Marine Chapter's Librarians. :lol:

Indeed, procssing for water reclamation as well as to filter out unwanted organic bacteria or disease (always a danger when you have a million plus worlds to contend with.) make it quite desirable, unless they wnat to go to the effort and expense of recruiting and retraining and retransporting a whole new force once it catches something it wasn't immune to.

Well, the Fortis Binars had a plague hit them in a Gaunt novel after some enterprising cooks decided to go corpse starch on their regiment... unprocessed corpse starch at that too.

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-04-23 10:17pm

Zinegata wrote:Funnily, I the red-shirt world is pretty much following this model. Just pick up a bunch of hivers, declare them to have volunteered for the Emprah's service, and ship them to the nearest war zone.

The red shirts of the Imperial Guard are known as the Death Korps of Krieg.

The homeworld of the feature regiment of Vae Victis has a Psykana Scholastica facility and considerable AdMech concessions (land basically leased to the AdMech); the former providing the Psykers and the latter providing Tech-Priests (albeit the latter is really just getting rid of Tech-Priests they don't like).

And yes, I'm that much of a heretic, stealing a Psyker Academy for my setting. I justify it by making Brennus a formerly D&D-land world that was a recruitment center for a Space Marine Chapter's Librarians. :lol:

There's nothing wrong with that. The recent novel Fire Caste has the Guard with powered armour and antigrav-jumping Sentinels.

Well, the Fortis Binars had a plague hit them in a Gaunt novel after some enterprising cooks decided to go corpse starch on their regiment... unprocessed corpse starch at that too.

It was in 'His Last Command' - They didn't go corpse starch per se (although they mentioned in times of extremis the Munitorum started reprocessing bodies.) - the Binar cooks were selling off the Guard rations and replacing it with meat salvaged from dead bodies. I think they might have been cannibals though lol.

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Zinegata » 2013-04-23 10:34pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:
Zinegata wrote:Funnily, I the red-shirt world is pretty much following this model. Just pick up a bunch of hivers, declare them to have volunteered for the Emprah's service, and ship them to the nearest war zone.

The red shirts of the Imperial Guard are known as the Death Korps of Krieg.

Nah, in my sector they're the Akkadians (although Kriegers show up once in a while). Who literally wear red uniforms. :lol:

There's nothing wrong with that. The recent novel Fire Caste has the Guard with powered armour and antigrav-jumping Sentinels.

LOL, seriously? They finally gave the Guard some actual toys to play with?

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-06 06:11pm

Next up, we're to one of my favorite IG novels: Rebel Winter. Its the Vostroyans, and its done by Steve Parker (my first taste of his work) and I find that having read it a second time, I love it even more. Parker displays the same gift for writing interesting characters and settings (and generally making the Guard awesome) that I appreciated in Rynn's World and his Deathwatch stuff.

Rebel Winter also continues the Guard tradition of 'Humanity vs Orks', except with some slight variation in that we have rebels as well (hence the title.) The worst parts of the book, IMHO, is that it plays up the SPACE RUSSIAN concept alot more and does not do nearly enough to play up the 'AdMech ruled/firstborn' aspect.

We also get a rather good short story at the end which is a prequel of sorts featuring the oddest of characters (but having value because of that.) OH, and this is also continuing in the 'quoting from the omnibus' tradition. After this I switch to specific novels for most of it (save a few short stories.)

This is going to be a bigger than usual IG update (most of the books I like tend to be) so we're three updates.

Part 1 to begin.

Page 507
“Secession — let a single rebel world go unpunished and countless more will rise up, all clamouring for those religious and economic freedoms better known to loyal citizens of the Imperium as heresy and ingratitude."

This is pretty funny given, say, Uriel Ventris attitudes and commentary in the Smurfs novels. But then agian they tend to be exceptions :P

Page 507
It began when volcanic eruptions on the southern continent filled the atmosphere with debris and plunged the land into darkness. The sudden climatic change wiped out over half the human population and reduced planetary productivity to almost nothing. On countless occasions in the years that followed, one loyalist governor after another begged the Administratum for aid. Eventually, the Administratum approved the deferment of Imperial tributes, but more direct aid in the form of food and technologies was repeatedly denied. Imperial coffers, the Danikkin were told, were being drained by anti-xenos campaigns throughout the segmentum.

Rather common logic for the Administratum - if you aren't providing something useful to us, you can go to hell until you can give us something in return for us giving them something in return. Small wonder in Helsreach that there was fear that Armageddon might get abandoned if its industry were lost. On the other hand, given the situation (ork rampage from Ghoul Stars) they might have a legit reason not to be sending aid.

Page 508
...sent a formal notice of secession to the Administratum.

“Two years later, in 766.M41, Lord Marshal Graf Harazahn of the Vostroyan Firstborn — then charged with overseeing all ground operations in the Second Kholdas War — relented before pressure from the Administratum and agreed to send a small punitive force to Danik’s World. Twelfth Army was formed for this purpose and deployed under the leadership of General Vogor Vlastan — a man for whom Harazahn allegedly bore little genuine respect.

“Twelfth Army’s orders were to crush the Danikkin rebels, restore order, and return to action in the Second Kholdas War with all due haste. As the old adage goes, however, few plans survive first contact with the enemy.

Politics, politics politics. Basically the Administrtum gets pissy someone dares defy them, pesters the Vostroyans to go beat them up. The Vostroyans go 'fuck off, I'm busy fighting a real war' and the Administratum keeps pestering them until someone gets sent to do something about it, although it is more a token effort than anything (meaning its poorly reinforced, poorly supported, and generally all sort sof grimdark.) And if the Rebels weren't bad enough, Orks make an appearance as well. So you can tell this is going to be a lighthearted romp.

All that said it does show how politics affects the balance of power (and the actual power wielded) amongst the arms of the Imperium. It also reflects that politics can affect deployment times and responses (in this case it takes two years because the Vostroyans don't WANT to be diverted from more important tasks.) so not all delays are logistical or transport related.

Page 512
..his eyes tracked the bloated figure of the general. He was a ruin of a man, confined to a multi-legged mechanical chair wired directly to his nerves via data-plugs at the base of his skull.

Yet another example in the neverending cavalcade of interesting augmetics.

Page 513
Korris Trenchworks — 08:59hrs, -25°C


Page 514
The orks, damn them all, seemed impervious to the deep winter.

As we know, Orks thrive in temperature extremes.

Page 514
..rubbed gloved hands over their weapons to keep the mechanisms from freezing. Their pockets bulged with lasgun power packs waiting to be loaded at the last minute so that the cold of the open air wouldn’t leech their valuable charge.

Despite their durability and reliability, lasguns and powerpacks can in fact have limits - at least Vostroyan ones can and that limit seems to be suffering in -25 C weather although they still work. Batteries need to be kept warm to avoid leeching charge. I dont know if this applies to all sorts of batteries (the internet does not help - some batteries it is supposed to help on, others it degrades or even damages batteries to be in cold.) so it's up in the air. This might tell us something about the batteries the Vostroyans use, but I would also note that if it is liquid metal batteries and if they behave like sodium sulfur, they have a certain temperature they are expectd to operate at for optimal performance, and 'cooling' the battery would likely degrade it. I've heard Lithium-ion batteries have similar cold weather problems (up to 40-50% degrdation IIRc.) which owuld also fit, althoughI doubt 40K lasgun batteries are Lithium ion.

Page 514
There were three hundred and thirty-eight men at the last count, spread across five platoons. He’d started with four hundred.

Size of a Vostroyan company and the number of platoons.

Page 514
Those same reinforcements accounted for most, but not all, of the recently deceased. That was the way of things in the Guard, of course. Those with the right stuff lived to fight on. As far as most officers were concerned, the rest were just cannon fodder.

Cuz grimdark, naturally.

Page 514-515
Every face around him was covered against the cold, some with warm scarves, others with rebreather masks that offered better protection against the elements, but reduced peripheral vision.

I dont know if gas masks/rebreathers normally provide protection against the elements, but IIRC the Cadians had them in IA11 too.

Page 515
Early in the conflict, the youngest and greenest Guardsmen in the Twelfth Army had suffered in depressingly high numbers. Frostbite: for some it was lips or noses, for others it was fingers or toes.
Many of the afflicted didn’t need scarves and goggles now. They wore permanent masks, expressionless machine faces screwed into the bone of their skulls by the regiment’s techpriests and the chirurgeons of the Imperial Medicae.

Frostbite problems (a touch o the trench warfare) and face augmetics. They can replace your freaking FACE. Imagine that. An army of Vader Masked troops due to the cold. They mention that frostbite is also a flogging offense. :P

Page 515
Many were veterans who, like Sebastev, had opted to serve beyond their ten years of compulsory service.

Interesting again that we get the 'ten years compulsory' service thing, actually suggesting you can opt out or retire from the Guard. Not a universal option, but it seems fairly common, and the means of opting out vary depending on book and author and source. This also implies something different than the whole 'slave-conscript army' model from Fifteen hours or the uplifting primer though.

Page 516
He raised his magnoculars and squinted into the lenses, picking out the tree line just over a kilometre east of his position. The heavy curtains of falling snow hampered his view, but the shadows beneath the trees stood out as a dark border in all that white, marking the far edge of the killing fields. As he adjusted the magnification, bringing the wall of pine into sharper focus, he thought he glimpsed motion between the black trunks.

The trees are a kilometre or so away.

Page 516
It was everything Sebastev's home world might have been were it not covered form sea to poisoned sea in gas belching, city-sized manufactories.

Vostroya seems to be a hive-like industrial world, or possibly obth hive world and industrial world, by this. Not quite sure I'd think it 'coruscant like' from the implied coverage, but that's certainly possible as well.

Page 516
Long-range comms had been unreliable since they’d landed on the planet. Some two thousand years after massive volcanic eruptions in the far south had kick-started this Danikkin ice age, tiny particles of volcanic debris in the high atmosphere still played hell with signals over distance. Short-range vox, at least, was somewhat less affected.

Volcanic eruptions and the ice age seem to be futzing with long range comms, although for wahtever reason short range comms aren't affected. I have no idea if this is genuine or bullshit.

Page 517
"A Chimera left Korris HQ a few minutes ago, heading for our current position. It shouldn’t take long to arrive.”

That would imply a matter of minutes passing, since if it left a 'few minutes' ago and wouldnt take long to arrive.. it should suggest it takes less than 'a few minutes' to arrive.

Page 517-518
Each guardsman wore a vox-bead. The devices didn't have much range, maybe five kilometeres on a good day, just one or two as stnadard on Danik's world, but they were absolutely vital for coordinating operations. Anything over that range required a heavy vox-caster set like the one Kuritsin carried around, strapped to his back. Every company and platoon leader in the Sixty-Eighth had a comms officer beside him.

Microbeads make a return, and they have quite a bit of range here. Not quite as much as implied in the Ghosts novels (10 km as per His Last Command) but they're much logner ranged in most cases than other novels (like cain or the FFG stuff) imply (the latter of which gives 1-2 km as typical tops)

Page 518
Sebastev didn’t have the faintest idea how vox worked, but that was the Imperium for you, he supposed. If the Priests of Mars understood it, they guarded the knowledge jealously.

IGNORANCE is power.

Page 518
"when those ugly green bastards come charging over the snow, drop them with a lasbolt to the brain,"

Given that Xenology and the 3rd edition Ork codex suggest ork skulls are at least an inch thick, you need at least a few kj to penetrate the skull assuming human like bone structure. Nevermind damaging the flesh and brain.

Page 519
'Maintain fire discipline. Power settings at maximum. Choose your targets. I want redundancy minimised. Remember, all of you, that temperature, visibility, and the nature of our opponent have reduced lethal range to approximately one-half. Any trooper wasting bolts on long shots will immediately forfeit his rahzvod allocation. You don't fire until I bloody well say so.

Ranges in this battle are reduced because of visibility (sight), the cold (probably affecting gun performance) and the fact they're fighting Orks (orks being tougher than humans probably means they need to be closer for shots to do actual damage. Which may reflect range affecting spot size if thesea re actual lasers, or may reflect some sort of beam degradation over range if this is some other sort of energy weapon - esp magical.) Also, Sebatov orders noone to fire before he orders it, which between these two implies the range can be far greater.

Also Vostroyan lasguns have variable settings.

Page 520
Commissar Ixxius was another friend and mentor who'd been lost to the campaign. The man had been a pillar of strength to Sebastev's company after Dubrin's death. He'd been a fine speaker too.

In scholas and academies across the Imperium, officers and commissars were taught how to tap that faith. There were study programs deidcated to battlefield oration, but that didn't help Sebasteve, because his was a field commission.

Comment on IG leadership amongst officers and commissars. Tends not to emphasize that 'fear of getting shot by your own side' quite as much as it does inspiration and propoganda, which I suppose is better (but then again given Imperial propoganda in the Ig novels.) One of the good parts (for me) in this novel always was the fact the Commissars are not all trigger happy, fanatical assholes - they have human aspects alongside the Commmisar persona.

PAge 520
As if summoned by the thought, they showed themselves now, bellowing their challenge as they broke cover. They crashed from between the trees, a thunderous green tide of muscle-bound bodies, kicking up great sprays of snow as they raced over no-man’s land towards the Vostroyan lines. Orks.

"Mark your targets." Ordered Sebasteve. "First volley on my order. Not one shot till we see their breath misting the air. Let them extend themselves. Grenades and Mortars on dense knots only, please."

Thius is just after the Orks emerge from the tree line and begin charging, and Sebastev reinforces his earlier order not to fire until he says so. This suggests that the range quite probalby is close on to a kilometre as far as accuracy goes, but against Orks it won't do shit lethality wise. We knew from Fifteen hours 300 metres was lethal range against Orks on Broucherac during winter-like conditions, so it seems reasonable here, especially given similar warnings and situations were given over a roughly similar range (800-1000 metres there too.)

Page 521
All too quickly, with their oversized feet eating up the distance to the Vostroyan trenches, the orks came into lethal range.

Given that we learn the Commissar arrives just as the Orks reach the trench, we might figure no matter than a couple of minutes or so passes. Assuming 2 minutes and a 20 km/hr running speed the Orks would cover around 675 meters or so, which works out to a little over 300 meters for probable lethal range - again that's roughly consistent with fifteen hours.

Page 522
Enemy slugs, solid rounds as big as a man's fist, bit great chunks of frozen dirt from the sandbags of the trench lip.

The Orks are using stubbers/autoweaposn of course. Although I would probably consider this hyperbole as far as volume goes. Maybe mass of a fist, suggesting a hundred or several hundred grams or so for a slug.

Page 522
But the greenskins, despite their obsession with battle, were notoriously bad shots. They represented a far greater threat in close combat. Sebastev had to make sure the charging mass didn’t breach the Vostroyan defences, at least not until their numbers were manageable.

meaning that like in fifteen hours, the Guard won't charge the Greenskins or engage in close combat unless they have to, and rather rely on ranged warfare.

Page 522
Troopers to left and right opened up on the orks as they sped nearer, carving black wounds into the wall of green flesh. But, while las-fire would have obliterated an army of men, the ork charge barely slowed. LAs-bolts could cut and char, but they lacked the raw kinetic punch of solid rounds. Orks shrugged off anything that wasn't crippling.

Interesting comment on lasgun wounding mechanisms for Vostroyan weapons. They're basically different from bullets (which differes from other depictions and sources, like the old 2nd edition wargear or the Munitorum manual) but seem to rely more heavily on thermal effects alongside piercing/slicing, although apparently not enough to lop limbs off or anything that would be serious. Basically they burn and punch neat holes I gather, whereas bullets might tumble and fragment and deform and generally have Ke and momentum to make big nasty holes. given the effects of ork bullets and the sniper rifles we see later on, this seems likely.

Caring 'black woulds' implies very severe third or fourth degree burns, which may also imply some flesh flaying effects from steam explosions as secondary. Again it must be very localized to avoid being 'bullet like' here. 'charring' reinforces that.

Page 522
The gun kicked hard, and hot blood misted the air where the monster’s head had been. The heavy body ran on, legs still pumping, muscles executing the last orders from an absent brain.

- Vostroyan bolt pistol obliterates the head of an Ork into a "bloody mist". This would translate into a large hole in a human torso.

Page 523
“Second wave,” he called. “Ammo counters and charge packs, all of you.”

That suggests their lasgun packs are probably nearly drained or are drained, suggesting less than a minute's worth of firing, probably far less. Range may have actually been a bit longer than 300 or so metres then :P

Page 523
If the first wave of orks had looked large and fierce, they were mere youths compared to the dark-skinned brutes that now swarmed over the snows. Their overlong arms bulged with muscles swollen to unnatural proportions. Some wore crude suits of armour strapped or bolted together from plates of srap metal and leather. Barring a direct headshot, a lasgun wouldn't do much damage to them, short of making those plates scalding hot. But orks didn't care about superficial burns when the battle lust was on them. It just made them mad. THey'd come striaght through, soaking up lasfire until they were right on top of Fifth company.

Ork vets make an appearance now, I believe these were called 'skarboyz' to show their veteran status. As we know from the codexes and such, Orks thrive on aggression even to the point of 'adapting' and becoming bigger, stronger and tougher the more they fight and shit.

Also interesting commentary on lasgun damage mechnaisms, they can't punch through Ork armour plating, but they can heat it the hell up. This may suggest they have less penetration than lasguns in Death Wrold had, but probably reflects the thermal nature more than anything. We dont know hoc much plate or how hot 'scalding hot' is (scalds are usually severe second or thrid degree burns though) This probably suggests lasguns cause more severe burns directly (third or fourth degree) as well as the cutting effects. Assuming an inch or two of armor steel and a 1 cm hole, we might figure 10-15 kj to drill through the gun if it were balster style with 10-15 1 kj pulses being used.

Its also implied a single lasgun could turn them scalding hot although we dont know over what area, so its purely conjectural. Assuming 600K temp for iron plates, and that they were an inch thick and covered a 50x50 cm area we might figure 50 kg of metla which would be.. 9 MJ potentially. But again without knowing how many guns or shots, or even the actual temp, this is purely conjectural it could be dozens, hundreds, or thousands of shots per ork or whatever.

Ther'es also the not-so-minor implication that the lasguns can't simply drill through or penetrate that level of plating. Assuminga blaster style 'laser' drilling through steel (5mm spot size, 1 kj per pulse, 10-20 pulses and 5 ms dleay between shots in Luke Campbell's calculator) it would penetate a good 2-3 inches of steel with a 1-2 cm diameter. Melting a 1 cm hole through 5-7 cm of iron (30-50 grams or so I estimate) would take around 35-60 kj. So it could say something about the manner in which the lasguns are configured to do damage (thermal and more penetrating of flesh than iron) or it may speak to yields (not more than single/double digit kj) or both.\

Page 523
“I want heavy bolters to concentrate fire on those armoured bastards. Leave the rest to mortars and lasguns. Is that clear? Flamers, wait for your range. No wasted shots. Mortars, I want focused fire at mid-range, centred on dense knots, as before.”

Possible comments on range again.

Page 524
Even as he thought this, a trooper a few metres down on his right was thrown against the rear wall of the trench with bone-splintering force. He slumped dead to the wooden planks of the trench floor. Fully half of his head was gone, as if something had taken a great bite out of him.
“Gretchin snipers!”

gretchin used as Marksman again, and the effect of their weapons.

Page 524
But where the khek are they?

Vostroyan profanity.

Page 524
Someone to the north of Sebastev’s position fired off an early shot, hitting a massive ork in the throat. At closer range, the shot might have been fatal, but this far out, the monster just stumbled, regained its footing and continued to charge

Again lasgun fire employed from beyond lethal range - it hits (and scores what might be a lethal hit closer up, so its accurate fire) but the range and enviorment degrade the shot so much it does fuck all to an Ork. Same probably applies to other creatures like 'Nids and CSM and shit.

Page 525
Then the second wave came into lethal range.
All along the trench, the sharp report of the Vostroyan lasguns drowned out the alien battle cries. From foxholes and pillboxes up and down the line, heavy bolters resumed fire, beating a deep tattoo that resonated in Sebastev’s lungs. Mortars sent a deadly explosive hail at any cluster of orks that held together for even a moment.

Everything opens up at 'mid range' pretty much, which was deifned by the mortars, so we might figure the weapons are engaging the Orks midway across the distance (around 500 m or so)

Page 527
They were monstrous, even for orks, towering hulks of savage muscle far bigger than even the largest of Sebastev’s men.
A jet of blazing promethium blasted down the passage, searing away the flesh of the enemy. A moment later, the only evidence that the orks had ever existed was the molten metal that had been their armour, boots and weapons.
"“I’m down to a quarter tank."

That would certainly IMPLIY cremation temps were used, although it seems to have burnt up a fair bit of the fuel supply doing so.

Page 527
..Vostroyan lasfire strafed their bodies. Agony didn’t slow them.

Lasfire is designed to inflict pain, unsurprisingly. Affects things like burn severity for example.

Page 531
Still, it was hard to fathom the workings of the alien mind. From an official standpoint, it was heretical to even try. In all Sebastev’s experience with them, ork behaviour was rarely as simple and predictable as Imperial propaganda made it out to be.

Scorn for the 'official' standpoitn again. A rather common theme amongst the early IG novels really.

Page 531
"..make sure the ork bodies are burned quickly. You know the drill.”

Left unattended, the ork corpses would shed their spores. They’d probably begun to do so already. It was best to burn them all as quickly as possible.

Spore theory in action again.

Page 533-534
..tapped a four-digit code into the rune pad on the doorframe.
..closed the door quickly behind them, and slapped the cold seal activation glyph on the door’s inner surface.

Officers quarters door has code pad and a cold seal

Page 534
...Karif saw for the first time just how short Captain Sebastev was. The top of his head barely reached Karif’s shoulders. At just under two metres, the commissar would have been considered a fairly tall man on most worlds, but he’d met enough Vostroyans to know that Sebastev was below average height for his people.

That might suggest Sebastev is about 25-30 cm shorter than the Commisar, which puts Sebastev around 1.7 m or so, give or take a couple of cm either way. Not exactly 'short' by modern standards, which suggests that average Vostroyan height might be around 1.8 meters or so.

Page 534
A quartet of small thermal coils, one in each corner, hummed as they struggled to take the chill from the air.

Amazingly, they provide heaters for the personnel.

Page 534
...remembering the gloating look on the face of Lord General Breggius as the man had informed him of his reassignment. I wasn’t to blame for your son’s death. You must’ve pulled some long strings to get me posted out here..

Politics, unsurprisingly, can fuck around even with Commissars if you piss off the wrong person.

Page 535
Karif didn’t consider himself a vain man, but he believed that a position of authority brought with it certain requirements of appearance. It was a matter of self-respect. And if such an appearance happened to appeal to a particular class of lady, so much the better.

It was unfortunate that his appearance had also appealed to the Lord General’s son.

He’d been a charming boy with great potential as an officer, but he’d misinterpreted Karif’s friendship as something… deeper. Karif hadn’t expected his rejection to lead to the boy’s suicide.

Again this Commissar comes across as being quite.. human seeming behind the uniform. Which is a damn sight better than 'HERESY!' type executioners we are indoctrinated to think of.

Page 536
Nineteen men didn’t sound like a lot to Karif. In fact, given the ferocity of the fighting he’d seen earlier, it sounded incredibly low. He’d served in conflicts where the daily tolls ran into the thousands.
"“I’d have thought the tally would please you. An ork assault of that size repelled with Guard losses in only double figures? You should be expecting a decoration.”

An interesting commentary from the Commissars pov on loss ratios, at least Guard vs Ork in situations similar to this.

Page 536-537
“What does anyone at Twelfth Army Command know about the realities of the Eastern Front? Damned little, that’s what. Whichever bigwig you angered knew what they were doing when they posted you out here. You’re right in the middle of it, commissar. We’re outnumbered, ill-equipped, and so badly supported you’ll wonder if the Munitorum isn’t just a figment of your imagination."

EG: yet another unimportat, poorly supported war being fought by the Guard. hooray.

Page 537
"I’ve little tolerance for fatalism, captain. In fact, I’m a strong believer in the might of the common man. With good leadership and morale, there’s nothing the Guard can’t achieve. Be careful not to let me hear you speak thus in front of your men. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of my commissarial remit.”
“Fear won’t work for you out here, commissar. I tell you this because you’re clearly a man used to being feared. But don’t mistake a lack of fear for a lack of respect."
"Commissar Ixxius was a great soldier and friend. We won’t see his like again. If he proved anything, it was that the right man can make a great difference. There is a place for you here among the Firstborn, if you’re such a man. It’ll take time, perhaps, but once you’ve earned the respect of my fighters, you’ll see what a force they can be."

Again I like this novel for breaking the Commissar stereotypes. As the quote indicates, an effective Commissar cannot rely automatically and heavily on fear as a motivator - it works in some cases, against some threats, but ultimately its ocunter-productive. Being a figure of inspiration, even respect - something strongly emphasized in the earlier fluff I might add - serves a better role more often than not. Especially regiments like the Vostroyan. Or Catachan. Or, as we learn in Cadian blood.. Cadians. So a Commissar must not only be able to use fear or inspiration, but he (or she) must know his (or her) charges, and what works best on them.

Page 537
...poured two shots of clear liquid into a pair of dirty glasses. “Rahzvod,”

Aka space vodka. The 'Space Russian' stereotype in this novel is pretty damn heavy, but its tolerable enough. Better than what happens in Desert Raiders, methinks.

Although on second thought.. I wonder if it is a stereotype. being a typical white male American, I'm not exactly the most unbiased source for recognizing such things, or if I'm just imprinting my own lack of knowledge/preconceptions/prejudieces on these things. It's not like I'm that well acquaintaed with anything Russian to be able to recognize what is or isn't a stereotype.

Page 538
The man was almost as tall as Karif. Like many Vostroyans, he was well built. The gravity on Vostroya was slightly higher than on Karif’s homeworld.

Vostroya has heavier gravity than the Commissar's homeworld, although without knowing either locale or the gravities, this doesn't really tell us much. He's also close to the Commissar's height, which sort of reinforces my earlier assessment WRT Vostryoan average heights and such.

Page 539
"this is Commissar Daridh Ahl Karif from… Sorry, commissar, I didn’t catch where you were from.”
“Tallarn?” guessed Lieutenant Kuritsin with a smile. Karif wasn’t quite fast enough to hide a flash of irritation.

Why does everyone I meet assume that, he thought angrily? Do all men with black hair and a deep tan have to come from that wretched place?

Probably has some significance somewhere, but I suspect it will be lost when we get into the Desert Raiders novel. lol. Thought it was kind of interesting though still.

Page 539
“Delta Radhima actually,” he said, recovering his composure and standing, or rather stooping, to shake the lieutenant’s hand, “but I attended the Schola Excubitos on Terrax.”
The schola on Terrax was infamous for producing some of the strictest, most militant commissars in the history of the Imperium. Karif didn’t care to mention that he’d been considered one of the more liberal graduates.

The Commissars actual homeworld and where he was trained. And also a further reflection he is a human and quite probably more of a 'Cain type' commissar with more outright bravery. Its nice to know 'liberal' commissars aren't rare, though.

Page 540
“I forgot to tell you. Some shinies came in with the commissar.”

“Shinies?” asked Karif.
"“new conscripts, fresh off the assembly line: shinies."

Blah blah grimdark. Better than 'new fish' label applied in Fifteen Hours though.

Page 540-541
He looked barely halfway through his adolescence, though he’d have to be at least eighteen years old to be posted to a regiment. His face bore none of the scars from basic training that most new conscripts were so proud of.

Unlike the previous two novels, age of adulthood (and thus conscription) seems a bit older on Vostroya.

Page 541
The “boat” Lieutenant Kuritsin had referred to was the Imperial Naval cruiser Helmund’s Honour.

Vostroyan troops were transferred to the region via cruiser, rather than troop transport .

Page 541
Rather than raise new foundings like most Imperial Guard regiments, the Vostroyan Firstborn were reinforced in the field, a peculiarity that was, according to some, the result of an ancient debt about which no one living semeed to know a great deal.

In fluff this was technically true, and it is generally rare and unusual, but a surprising number of regiments in fluff (and novels) do this. The Valhallans in the Cain novels for example get recruits as well. Whether it depends on how the regiment was initially recruited or formed, or is the result of special dispensations or favours individual regiments get (like with the Vostroyans) or what, we don't know, but it is not something unique to the Vostroyans. Their dispensation comes from the fact they are paying off a 'debt' stemming from their refusal to take sides in the Heresy, as I recall. Given the HH series taking off, this would actually make an interesting story to write, fi they ever stop writing about fucking Space Marines all the time.

Page 541
The newest levies from Vostroya had already settled into the passenger holds when Karif stepped aboard the ship at Port Maw. In the months it took the ship to navigate the warp...
Since Danik’s World was considered little more than a backwater with minimal tactical importance to the war effort...
The real glory was on the cluster’s spinward side, where those on the Kholdas Line fought to hold back the massive ork armada from the Ghoul Stars.

By the 5th edition map, Vostroya (and the Gothic Sector, where Port Maw is) is located in Segmentum Obscurus, close to the edge of Obscurus/Ultima, so we're talking a good 50-70 thousand light years roughly, depending on the exact location of the cluster relative to the Ghoul Stars. It takes far less than a year (months) which means its faster than 50-70,000c, which more than likely means we're talking in excess of 100,000c, if not several hundred thousand c. With the maximum implied (linear) transit speed (with only a single jump) being some 400,000c.

Also reiteration of how unimportant this war (and planet are) relative to the alrger scope - the only reason the Vostroyans are here is as a token gesture to placate the Administratum.

Page 542
“He lost an arm, sir, his left. Full augmentation from the shoulder down, so I’m told.”

Which tells us that however unimportant this war may be for the Vostroyans at large, its still more important the Broucherac, since they still have plenty of augmetics. Probalby also means they have shit tons of hotshot packs, grenades, targeters and the like :P

Page 542
..most new arrivals to the battlefield don’t survive their first skirmish. Those that do survive tend to be born fighters, bullies, killers, sociopaths. There are occasionally others, the quick studies. Some of them make it. They learn the hard way. This one doesn’t look like a fighter. Is he a quick study, I wonder?

Comment on trooper qualities.

Page 543
"So, in order to help me adjust to Vostroyan ways, I’d like to request an adjutant. Since Trooper Stavin is, in your own words, a shiny—”
"Trooper Stavin, you’ll serve as the commissar’s adjutant. Do as he says except when I tell you otherwise. A commissar’s adjutant you may be, but I’m in charge."

Again a very human, Cain like action for a Commissar, isn't it?

Page 547
The ohx’ was thick and salty, just as it was meant to be. The drink’s proper name was ohxolosvennoy, but no one ever called it that. It was a staple on Vostroya, cheap and easy to make. In its dry form, it was simply powdered grox meat with a few added stimulants and preservatives. Workers in every factorum on Vostroya swore by ohx’. It was the only way to get through double shifts. On Danik’s World, the Firstborn drank prodigious amounts of the stuff.

Which points to them also being better fed and supplied food wise than the previous two books. The Catachans had to hunt for their meat.

I wonder if there is a real-life analogue to this drink?

Page 547
Commissar-captain Uthis Vaughn, the regimental commissar, was a close personal friend. Despite the man’s intimidating public persona, Kabanov knew him to have a wonderful sense of humour, a deep appreciation of art in its many forms, and a frustrating talent for the game of regicide.

Another decent commissar. They seem common as dirt in this book so far.

Page 550
Twelfth Army Command’s gross mismanagement of the Danik’s World campaign had now cost them an entire regiment of men and a vital beachhead in the north-east. The Vostroyan Firstborn 104th Fusiliers had been decimated. Over two thousand souls had been lost defending the city of Barahn against the concentrated might of the Venomhead clan.

An indication of the size of a Vostryoan regiment. Probably light infantry (if they have such!) or at least foot given the name.

Page 550
The hololithic projector studs set into the surface jumped, and bands of static rippled across the ghostly green projection of the Danikkin landscape that floated before them. Sebastev’s eyes were fixed on the glowing threedimensional representation of Barahn.

Hololith. Not sure if its a recreation or a realtime image or what... it could go either way given the context, but I suspect its just a map.

Page 550
Sebastev had seen what ork slavers would do. Though the ork intellect was universally denigrated, he’d worked enough reconnaissance in his past to know better. He’d seen greenskins threaten to devour captive children, forcing their parents to work themselves to death. He’d watched laughing gretchin torture innocent men and women to instil fear and obedience in the enslaved. He remembered, too, the Marauder air strikes he’d guided in to deliver the Emperor’s justice. He’d known that, given the choice, the enslaved would gladly give up their lives to ensure the destruction of their captors.

As I've noted in the past, it's easy to think of the Orks as a joke race (and indeed there are some silly ork moments in this book too) but its passages like this that drive home that they can and are a brutal and menacing foe all the same. They enslave, kill without qualm, devastate and all those other civilziation-destroying aspects that the Imperium fights against.

Page 551
“the entire Valles Carcavia is open to them, from its easternmost mouth all the way to the outskirts of Grazzen in the west.”
A circle of light appeared on the shimmering holomap, circling a riverside city about one hundred and fifty kilometres west of Barahn.

Important shortly for a possible calc.

Page 551
"The Thirty-fifth Mechanised Regiment is stationed there."

The river Solenne is over two kilometres wide at its narrowest point, and runs so fast and deep that even our Chimeras can’t ford it. Without the bridges here and here, the orks will have no way across.”

The Vostroyan 35th Mechanised introduced, yet another kind of force they provide (infnatry, mechnaised, armour, etc.)

Vostroyans seem to be implied to have fair numbers of Chimeras (we learn they have quite a bit of transport capacity for the troops in this book) and refrence to their fording capacity. Also seems to suggest the Orks would not be able to get by, although this seems dangerously optimistic, given that at Black Reach and Armageddon they made use of aquatic transport.

Also a river that is 2 km wide.

Page 552
“Wasn’t any support sent out from Helvarr?” asked the Eighth Company commander, Major Tsurkov.
Tank columns from Helvarr could have reached Ohslir in just a few hours..

Based on the map in the book and the afroementioned quote we're maybe talking a good 70-80 km distance covered in 'a few hours' (2-3), which translates to some 23-27 km/hr (at least) to 35-40 km/hr (for 2 hours). This is for tanks, but it also doesnt clarfiy whether it is an on or off road speed. Still for tanks that's damn fast. Bear in mind too tha tthe maps may be a bit off, given hints later (150-160 between Korris and Nhalich, and ~300 km or so across mountains from Nhalich to Grazzen) that the distances I estimated may be conservative by about half (meaning the speeds could be up to twice as fast as I noted. Maps are a bit hard to read here! LOL)

Also the Vostroyan 68th has at least 8 companies, which works out to total complement 3200 men at least assuming all companies are equally sized.

PAge 553

Then flank the enemy on its north side using companies from the 701st at Nhalich.

- mention of a 701st regiment, the largest numbered regiment yet (the othrs were 117 and 212.)

Page 554
"Our redeployment is scheduled to begin at first light, two days from now, preparations to start immediately.”
Redeployment, not retreat: retreat was practically a curse word to many of the Vostroyan Firstborn. Sebastev had never liked it much, but he didn’t try to deceive himself now. It was a retreat. The Twelfth Army had suffered a devastating double blow. They had to consolidate their forces, and that meant pulling back, at least for now. It wasn’t how Sebastev would have fought the war, but at least it made some kind of sense.

Which means they're showing a modicum of more sense than the command staff on Broucherac did, and recognize how ill equipped, outnumbered, and hard pressed from two fronts they are so they can't be all SIEGE/TRENCH WARFARE OF ATTRITION crap. Hell they're abandoning those fucking trenches, and they're not doing it on foot.

Also an indicator of redeployment times.

Page 556
Silence gripped the war room, broken only by the buzzing of the overhead strip lights and the soft humming of the field-cogitator banks by the rear wall.

Field computers!

Page 558
The Vostroyan Firstborn were quite probably the finest city fighters in the Imperial Guard. They were bred for it: trained in close quarters combat from a young age, and taught to fight from cover in the rains of the old factorum complexes that dotted so much of their home world.

Vostroyan specializaiton. Given their carapace and such.. it makes sense.

Page 562
Snipers were calling in the movements of the orks.

The Vostroyans have thier own snipers as well

Page 562
Enginseer Politnov and his small staff of Mechanicus servants had assembled Fifth Company’s vehicles, a few Chimeras and heavy troop transporters..

Vostroyans have their own dedicated troop transports. Again they may not be mechanised infantry, and not all have chimeras.. but they ARE mobile, so non-Chimera/Trojan/Centaur/Gorgon/Crassus transport exists and can be used. As if we didnt know about half tracks and motorised examples form the Ghosts novels and such too.

Page 562
“Squads are waiting at these intersections, ready to converge on the square once the orks are in. We’ve got heavy bolter nests set up here, here and here to provide enfilading fire. And you’ve ordered snipers onto rooftops and balconies at these points. Is that right, captain?”

“When they reach this point, our men stationed around the square will have visual contact. I want everyone to wait for my order. No firing until the orks have fully committed themselves. It’s imperative that the orks aren’t distracted from their pursuit of Squads Kashr and Rahkman. Absolutely nothing must draw them away from the trap.”
"Our biggest priority is establishing a crossfire. It’s the only feasible solution we have at this point for inflicting massive casualties with minimal losses of our own. We need to hold them just long enough for our sappers to achieve their

The 'plan'. Not exactly trench warfare now, is it? :P What's more this is only to delay them until they can move out (not on foot.) Definitely shows the variety in th ewarfare they practice.

Also, important for later - its implied they are to hold fire until the orks are in position (eg everyone will fire all at once.)

Page 563
Kabanov moved into the cover of the window frame. He raised a finger to his vox-bead, keyed the command channel, pressed the transmit stud and said, “Everyone to firing positions, now! Squads Kashr and Rahkman will be crossing the square any second. The orks are right behind them. All squads prepare to fire on my order.”

All five platoon leaders voxed back their affirmations.

Colonel's vox bead seems to be able to control who it speaks to/communicates with, which may suggest not all vox beads in a regiment are the same quality or have the same capabilities. Maybe the Colonel's is tied into the bigger backpack ones?

Also again implying that everyone will be firing more or less at once.

Page 563-564
Down in the square, on its east side, two squads of Firstborn pounded into view.

...they sprinted in his direction, pumping their arms for extra speed.

Seconds later, roaring and laughing, and firing their weapons into the air, the great green horde spilled into the square.

Orks don't seem much faster than humans in this case.

Page 564
The moment they reached the mid-point of the market square, Kabanov hit his vox-bead and called out, “Open fire! All squads converge!”

The plan is excuted

Page 564
The ork race was a disease of which the Imperium might never truly be cleansed. Munitorum propaganda underplayed the greenskins’ strengths, leading many to underestimate them. But anyone who met the greenskins on the battlefield quickly developed a grudging respect for this most violent and relentless of enemies.

Once orks gained a foothold on a world, it was almost impossible to shake them off without the employment of devastating ordnance.

Attitude of a more 'liberal' commisar towards Munitorum propoganda, which repeats a theme from the past three books or so. Also the difficulties in removing Orks from a planet, implying some sort of heavy weaponry is neede.d Whether it's meant to reflect really heavy artillery, nukes, orbital bombardment or what, we don't know though, but it sounds impressive at least.

Page 564
Karif wasn’t prone to negativism, but it was depressing to think the Second Kholdas War was such a desperate drain on Imperial resources that the Munitorum couldn’t ship a few more Vostroyan regiments out to help cleanse this planet.

Apparently to this guy hauling regiments halfway across the galaxy isn't a big deal. Like in the IA books. again one wonders why they didn't pull in forces from closer by... Then again some hints indicate this might be a segumentum-wide potential threat, so maybe they are.

PAge 566
He’d been a teenager at the time, freshly graduated from basic training, and released from duty for the last few days he’d ever spend on his home world. It was extremely rare for the firstborn sons of Vostroya ever to return. Just like the other graduates, Sarovic had been given a roll of notes and told to go out and find himself a willing partner. He was supposed to give the gift of his seed back to the world that had raised him.

It was a Firstborn tradition that Sarovic’s drill-sergeant insisted he keep

..he’d attached himself to a group of troopers that were going to one of the more notorious entertainment districts not far from the base.
Most of the others had paired off with women who seemed very keen to accept the honour of Firstborn seed.

I can see the 'logic' sort of behind it, being some sort of practical/genetic thing (not unlike the groups amongst the Misericorde in Innocence Proves nothing) but its kind of.. disturbing all the same. It's better than the shit pertaining to the Krieg of course, and it doesn't seem forced, but there's a sort of.. conditioning involved.. cultural or otherwise.

Also hints that the Imperium actually DOES have entertainment places, at least where it's possible to party and/or get laid. For all we know that is the purpose of such places in the Imperium, to help keep the human populations prolific and renewable (human life being fuel to the Imperium, and all that.) Kinda puts an insidious spin on all the stuff we see in Eisenhorn/Ravenor, actually.

Page 567
He pressed his right eye to the scope and adjsuted the zoom to bring his target into clear focus. Range, about six hundred metres.


Snipers from other companies tended to favour the long-las. IT was a fine weapon, highly accurate, but its bright beam gave the shooter's position away. On the orders of the late Major Dubrin, Fifth Company snipers employed hand-crafted, Vostroyan-made rifles that fired solid ammunition. It was a harder weapon to master than the long-las, but a sniper with goood cover could take down target after target without giving himself away.

Vostroyan rifles, and the advantages of lasweapons over projectile. Kinda interesting since we know of cases (FFG, etc.) where lasweapons can be modified for invisible (at some tradeoff) or designed as such, but apparently the Vostroyans don't have access to them here. They do have access to sniper rifles of osme kind. I'm guessing thse things are perhaps some sort of full-power/AMR grade round, bolt action rifles, givne the effects.

Also the range is 600 m and the scope seems to have zoom adjustment, which SOUNDS sophisticated but for all we know its just a regular unelectronic scope. Interesting thing about the range here is that it may imply the lasguns are firing on the orks from this range approximately (at least), givne the whole 'hold your fire until I say so', which might actually suggest the range against human targets is longer. On the other hand they might have advanced before firing even though they were supposed to open fire. Alternate interpretation based on FFG - that lasguns have 2/3 the range of sniper rifles, is that the range is around 400 m (against Orks again, which might suggest upwards of 800 m against a normal target.)

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-06 06:15pm

Part 2

Page 567
Shalkova was fitted with flash and noise suppressors.

That probably suggest it fires subsonic ammo, which means the range is going to be far less than it might otherwise.

Page 568
He slammed the fresh power pack into the pistol's socket and resumed firing.


Green bodies crumpled to the ground clutching the black pits the pistol burned in their chests and bellies. The hellpistol, a House Kabanov heirloom, still performed with lethal efficiency despite over three centuries of service.

Hellpistol, with powerpacks rather than side/backpack pwoer source. Makes 'black pits' in chests and bellies. Assuming this meant it covers those, we might figure 20x20cm burns, 50-100 j per sq cm... call it 20-40 kj, but that's pourely conjectural :P

Page 569
“We need some fire on those black, battle-scarred ones,”
These ork leaders bellowed orders to their kin in the inscrutable series of grunts and snorts that constituted the ork language

Ork leaders.

Page 569
Like most Danikkin towns, Korris had been built around a geothermal energy sink. The massive structures generated tremendous amounts of electrical power. Barady’s sapper team was charged with denying the orks this valuable energy source. Enginseer Politnov had advised the sappers how the charges might be set to cause a significant explosion, one that would level most of the town.

More exploding geothermal plants. This one will 'only' destroy most of the town.

Page 572
Pinned down without adequate cover, they began to haul the carcasses of their dead into piles to be used as shields. They pulled the heavy corpses up and over their bodies. It was something the proud Vostroyans would never have stooped to, but it was immediately effective. The shields of dead meat soaked up lasfire and bolter fire alike, giving the orks the protection they needed to rally.

Ork bodies as weapons fire sponges.

Page 573
Out in the square, the monstrous form of the last ork-leader crumpled soundlessly, a sniper's bullet cutting a neat hole in its chest, punching an exit wound in its back as large as a man's head.

Exit wound of the solid-projectile sniper rifles mentioned earlier. This probably highlights the difference between lasweapons and solid projectile weapons from earlier - lasguns in this novel can burn and make hole,s but not large exit wounds. *shrugs*

Page 574
A moment ago, the powerful bodies of the orks had looked formidable to Sebastev, packed with dense slabs of muscle that could tear a man apart.

Ork strength

Page 574-575
As soon as the dreadnought stomped into the middle of the square, the orks swarmed around it, seeking shelter between its gleaming piston legs.
For all its size, the killing machine looked as if it had been slapped together in the most haphazard way. Its bucket-like torso was covered with thick plates of metal that looked as if they’d been stripped from security doors or tank hatches, and bolted to it at all angles. Massive twin stubbers sat fixed above its thick piston legs.

Ork dreadnought

Page 575-576
Fire licked out from the fat barrels of the stubbers, illuminating the whole square in stark, flickering light. A blizzard of large-calibre bullets spewed forth, stitching the front of the south-side buildings, ripping through the walls, and pounding the thick stone construction into so much dust and stone chips.
Firstborn were getting slaughtered under the dreadnought’s devastating hail of fire.

Apparently the dreadnought's stubbers are penetrating (or killing by sheer impact) Vostryoan Carapace. Given the damage it inflicts on the buildings, thats porbably not surprising.

Page 576
Then the assembled heavy transports and Chimeras came into view, waiting patiently in a snow covered field. Their engines idled noisily. Their exhausts, like those of the ork dreadnoughts, spouted dark fumes into the air.

The Vostroyan transports again.

Page 579
Over the moonlit snows, a column of rambling vehicles charged west with all available speed. It wasn’t much, the unbroken drifts averaged over a metre deep. Fifth Company’s Chimeras were forced to ran slow, matching the speed of the massive, Danikkin-built troop transporters that moved up front, carving broad channels through the snow with their huge plough blades.

Chimeras traveling through metre-deep snow. also the heavy transports are local manufacture.

Page 579-580
The local machines, called Pathcutters, had been sequestered from captured depots throughout Vostroyan occupied territory on Danik’s World. They were ponderous compared to the smaller, better Imperial machines, but they hadn’t been built for speed. Instead, their design stressed large capacity and a raggedness that could handle the very worst of the Danikkin terrain. The troop compartment at the rear could accommodate over thirty personnel and was split into upper and lower decks. The chassis sat high on twinned pairs of powerful treads, well clear of the ground and any obstacles the vehicle might encounter. The height of the troop compartment called for a long ramp that dropped from the vehicle’s belly rather than from the rear like most other APCs.

Again the Vostroynas have scaveneged/requisitioned local machines for transport cpaability. Fucntionally, they seem to be platoon-sized transports, like the Gorgon superheavies or the Crassus Transports from the last Imperial Armour, and seem optimized for cold weather use.

This also shows how, whilst Infantry regiments can be more common than inherently mechanised or armoured regiments (EG with chimeras) it does not mean they will always be footsloggers

There's also an implication that there are other Imperial APCs in existence, as Chimeras are technically IFVs

Page 581-583
...Karif listened carefully, eager to discover more about the men’s mood.
While they’d been somewhat stony and indifferent towards him during the first few days, these Vostroyans now seemed surprisingly open and unguarded.
“You must forgive these lads, commissar, speaking out of turn like that. They mean no disrespect to the captain, the general or anyone else. But you must understand our frustration, sir. It’s not easy to walk away from Korris. We fought near enough two years just to hold it. A lot of good men died for it. It’s hard to watch the old foe just roll in. Vostroyan pride, see? In the end, it’ll kill more of us than winter, orks and rebels put together.”
“Daridh Ahl Karif,” replied Karif with a smile and a bow of his own, “commissar.” Aware of the attention on him, he added, “Proud to serve with the Sixty-Eighth.”
“Make me understand,” replied Karif with good humour, “and I’ll forgive the mild insult.” Glancing at the seated men, he saw some of them stifling a laugh.
Karif found himself quickly warming to the man. It seemed that Sergeant Basch had all the qualities of discipline, dedication and honour upon which the mighty Firstborn reputation was built.
“Well said, indeed. I’m gratified to find that the ardour of the Vostroyan Firstborn is no myth. Solid discipline, martial skill and good old-fashioned grit."

More of our Commissar's 'liberality'. Which I like. He seems more of the Cain type. He engenders trust and openness without that sense of fear of retribution for speaking out, and he pays attnetion to what they say, as well as to what they best respond to as well as generally getting to know and talk with the troopers under his remit. Generally more of the 'inspire and lead' rather than the 'shoot and terrify' type, which we need far more examples of.

The sergeant is no fool though. He interrogates the commissar (Again, showing the 'liberality') about what they might face or be up against - to paraphrase him - rherotirc and pithy phrases are good for the common man, but the officers and sergeants need to know whats coming to ensure their people survive.

Page 565
Karif’s jaw clenched. “The man is no lord-general, sergeant. He has turned his people from the Emperor’s light and doomed them to oblivion. Hard as ice, they may be, but the Emperor’s Hammer will shatter them. To that end, I will be unrelenting in my duty, and so will all of you.”

Karif’s righteous fury had done for him what the Vostroyan music could not; his blood surged and he felt his pulse beat in his clenched fists and at his temples.
To know it and to turn from it was the greatest crime in the Imperium, and the mere thought of it sickened Karif.

The worthless apostates, he thought, they’ve brought death down upon themselves.

And despite being all friendly and sociable, there is still a core of steel and devotion to the Imperial Creed in this Commissar.

Page 587
"I grew up in Hive Tzurka.”
"I’m from Hive Ahropol in Sohlsvod."

- Vostryoa seems to be a Hive World, given themention of several hives here. It is a very industrious one, however (like Necromunda or Armageddon.)

Page 588
His father had been a Civitas enforcer seconded to the local Arbites at the time.

Enforcers get 'seconded' to the ARbites - probably a reflection of the Arbites power to requisition aid from any arm of the military (PDF, enforcers, Guard, even Navy.) Although it may reflect some Enforcer-arbites cooperative efforts or something.

Page 589
...ordered Stavin to fetch a box of ampoules from the medical case he called his narthecium.

As he raised his injector pistol, Sergeant Svemir said,

Company level medic's gear.

Page 589
"You think I should have left after my ten?”
"Ten years from now, when the papers come through, you’ll tick the second box just like I did. When you’ve given such a chunk of your life to the Emperor’s service, it doesn’t take much to sign over the rest of it. A little guilt will do it. I could never have left knowing my brother Firstborn fought on. Retiring from the Guard is the coward’s way out.”
They can call me a coward as much as they like but, one way or another, I’ll find my way back to Vostroya.

“My family, sir,” said Stavin. “I’ll want to return to them. When my term is up, I mean.”

More commentary on 'retiring' out of the Guard. The interesting things are that if you don't opt out in 10 years, you seem to be in it for the long haul (implying there is no other chance to muster out, barring some sort of lucky break - like what happened in 15 hours.) Despite that, a surpising number of troops - at least by this example - seem to routinely stay on in the Guard. It reflects perhaps the level of loyalty and brotherhood the regiments develop - they depend on each other so much that abandoning them is unthinkable.

Also it doesn't seem that improbable that a 'retiring' guardsmen might return home to his family - at least, the idea isn't scorned out of hand as imossible.

Page 593
161km West of Korris — 21:06hrs

Previous Chapter mentions.. 82km West of Korris and 17:48 hours. Which means 3 hours and 18 minutes have passed and they'e covered some 79 km in that time, which is an average speed of 24 km/hr, probably off road - for the convoy. Reflects more the speed of the Danikan transports in adverse weather conditions (as previosuly noted) more than anything.

Page 593
The Chimeras had moved up on Colonel Kabanov’s orders, arranging themselves in a tight wedge formation with autocannons, multi-lasers and heavy bolters aimed out into the night...
The Danikkin machines were light on both armour and armaments.
They’d never been intended for a frontline combat role. Maximum load capacity was their strongpoint.

Armaments of the Chimeras, and the limited combat qualities of the Danikkin transports. The Chimeras ar eprotecting the heavier, more vulnerable transports too.

Page 596

Both he and Kasparov had been issued with low-light vision enhancers. The old goggles didn't offer true night vision, the best kit was always earmarked for the regiments that served the Kholdas Line, but at least Grusko could see where he was going despite the all-consuming darkness of the woods.
The goggles showed him the figure of a man leaning against a tree with his lasgun raised.
The man was dressed in a long, padded coat, with a light pack strapped to his back, and seemed to be wearing night-vision apparatus of his own. Unusual headwear, tall and pointed, sweeping backwards like the crest of a strange bird,...

Vostroyan scouts were issued with low light gear, and the Dannikin rebels have NVG too (as well as the indicaiton of effectiveness from the Vostroyan side.) While not standard issue evidently in this case, we do have to remember their existence at all is telling, and this infantry force is (as previously noted) an unimportant, poorly supplied military force, so the reasons WHY it is rare are up for debate - at least in this case.

They can also evidently fire their weapons whilst wearing NVG which is also interesting since the flash of the lasbolt doesn't blind the scout or his enemies in the least (despite being bright and visible.)

Page 598
Then the wounded man moved, and Grusko saw him, lying on his back with one hand pressed to his stomach. The smell of blood and burnt flesh was strong on the air.

Fifth Company scouts rarely deployed with carapace armour. The heavy golden plates confounded any attempt as stealth. This wounded man wore full Vostroyan battle-gear.

Comment on the extent of injuries - implied to be smaller than a human hand (diameter wise), and that Vostroyan combat gear is poorly suited for stealth (rather unlike Storm troopers, who ARE stealthy evne in carapace.)

Page 598

The first bolt seared the air just centimetres from Grusko’s head and caused him to duck back down into cover.

More lasfire followed, carving deep black lines in the trunk that protected Grusko.

- Lasbolt sears the air "centimeters" from a guys face without harming it. Becomes important later.

Also firing on tree. Seems to rake across the tree in a sustained-like beam, but not much in the way of penetration (no slicing through the trunk, although we dont know how thick the tree is either.)

Page 598-599
The steaming hole in the soldier’s belly said he wouldn’t be alive for much longer. "We’ve got us a survivor here, Kasparov, but only just."

More on the nature of the wound. Implies fairly deep penetration however it did it. Does not seem to be bleeding either, which suggests some degree of cauterizaiton, or a purely thermal mechanism (burning rather than blasting, which might make sense in the differences between gunfire and lasfire attested to earlier. Not to mention the steam, although whether that is from the thermal effects of the wound in this case, or the cold weather we can't say for certain.

Page 599
“Did they have comms equipment? Did they get a voxmessage off?”
“No, sir,” said Grusko, “not to our knowledge. Neither man was carrying a vox-caster unit.”

This presumably is meant to include comm beads/micro beads, meaning the Dannikan PDF may have NVG but not comm beads. (which in turn might suggest that NVG is more common than personal comms, or it might just reflect the peculiarities of logistics in this particular war, region of space, or whatever.)

Page 599
Svemir lifted away the edges of two Danikkin coats to show Sebastev the extent of the man’s wounds. Sebastev grimaced when he saw what lay beneath.

The armour that was supposed to shield the trooper's stomach had been melted through. It looked to Sebastev like the result of a full power lasgun blast at very close range. Beneath the hole in theman's armour, the flesh was burnt black and cratered. Steam rose from the wound.

LAsfire (from a Dannikan weapon this time, not Vostroyan) melted through carapace on full power (again variable yield!) and apparently in a single shot.

likewise, range apparently played a role in penetratieon - although however we interpret that depends on how the lasweapon works (if its a laser and spot size mattered to penetration/damage it might affect ranges at which damage could be inflicted. In this case, its probably due to some arbitrary reason, since these lasweapons seem to be more magical/thermal in nature rather than mecanical. Maybe the Vostroyan carapace is superconducting? Who knows.)

There is of course an ability to calc it. We know from Dark Heresy that Storm Trooper carapace ranges from 15-17 kg, and that a Carapace Breastplate is around 7 kg (7 kg extra for helmet, gauntlets and greaves at 2, 2, and 3 kg each IIRC) Which is interesting becase Kasrkin carapace was 15 kg in DH, ST carapace in RT and DW is 15 kg, and in Black crusade Carapace is 'light' and 'heavy' (15 and 17 kg respectivley.) It does help a bit that enforcer 'light' carapace is 15 kg, so we might chalk it up to differencs in design or equipment carried (EG vox, visors, batteries, etc. or it may be due to the thickness and protective qualities (light and heavy carapace differ in that regard.) Either way we might figure the carapace as a whole weighs at least 7, possibly as much as 9 kg, depending on interpretation, source and the like.

If we assume the Carapace breastplate is some 30-40 cm across, 50-60 cm 'tall' and about 2-3 cm 'thick' per chest plate we might figure slightly less than 1 gram per cubic centimeter. At the other end of the scale (9 kg breastplate 30 cm wide, 50 cm tall, and 2 cm thick) we get 3 grams per cubic cm. For the record, Iron is around 7-8 grams per cubic cm (and plate armour in FFg is around 30 kg or so, so we're probably in the right ballpark roughly)

The extent of the injury is hard to measure. I'd guess at least 2-3 cm melted through (diameter of lasbeam) and we dont know the depth (althoguh I'm guessing at maybe 5-10 cm given the vitals) or the diameter (except it might be at least a good 2-3 cm) It clearly wasn't a 'front to back' penetration like in some novels (EG Death world, Ice Guard) nor is it explsoive (no bleeding.) As noted before, it's also probably not much huger than a human hand, although that's not definite.

Assuming 2-3 cm 'thick' carapace, and a 3-5 cm diameter hole through the carapace we're talking 14 to 59 cubic cm, which could mean as litlte as 14 grams melted to several hundred grams (roughly) melted as a rough idea. If the wound is bigger of course, or the carapace thicker, then that means more melted. If the properties of the carpaace are comparable to iron (1.2 MJ or so to melt) we're talking between 17 to 213 kj. If the properties were more akin to silicon (ceramite, or the approximate density might suggest - 2-2.5 MJ per kg roughly perhaps) we'd be talking between 28-443 kj depending on exact parameters assumed.

As far as the wound goes, assuming between 3-5 cm diameter, 5-10 cm deep 'wound' burnt in, and whether you assume just flash burns or something more (like vaproization/incinerating) it could be single/double digit kj (flash burns depending on severity) to double digit or higher kj (boiling/vaporizing flesh might yield several tens or several hundred kj for a 10 cm deep, 5 cm diameter wound, for example.)

it seems safe to consider in that context that full power lasgun shots are between double and triple digit kj at least, and it certainly wouldn't rule out at least a megajoule or two 'per shot' yield (although one could always argue multiple shots in that case, since someone is going to hate on the MEGAJOULLEZ) Bear in mind as well that as I've repeatedly noted, this is a THERMAL effect weapon, so while you can say it packs alot of energy, you could also say its not an efficient weapon (a more efficient lasweapon applying that MJ in an explosive manner might blow a human body apart, for exapmle.)

Page 601
The medic slid a brown ampoule into his injector pistol and pressed it to Bekov’s neck. With a sharp hiss, the liquid emptied into the trooper’s veins.

Injector gun, again.

Page 602
“Mad with hate for the Imperium, sir. There were spies in Nhalich from the start. The DIA hid people among the loyalist refugee caravans from the south-east. Don’t know how they got past our checks. Once they were in they sabotaged our armour, our stores, everything."

“Blind, sir. The bastards got into their stores somehow. Tainted their food, their water. The troopers from the 701st couldn’t see a thing after that. There was chaos at the barracks. Major Tsurkov ordered us back onto Guard issue meal bricks."

Guard issue meal bricks. Yummy. On another note, we see a bit of the fanaticism of the planetary rebels. They also mention spies and sabotage (of armour, meaning that the 68th and/or 701st had its own armour complement as well.) - showing that the Imperium is not the only faction with a monopoly on zealotry.

Page 602
“They caught us right on the bridge. Ordered us to surrender. Old Tsurkov wasn’t having it. Galipolov, neither. Not to bloody rebels, sir."

In the 40K universe, surrenders can still be extended (by one side or another) but its not neccesarily a guarantee of survival or good intentions. Surrendering to Chaos can sometimes (literally) be worse than death. Given that the Rebels officer corps terrorizes its own people as much as the Imperium, this probably is wise.

Page 603
"Let's get a flamer out her to cremate the body, and make sure you bring his tags and lasgun back to the transport with you."

Again flamers can 'cremate' bodies, although unless they use alot of fuel or flamers are insanely efficient this is.. impressive, amazing and probably grossly unrealistic. Like I've said, 40K flamers must be quite damn magical to do all they are attributed.

PAge 604
Danik’s World had never been known for technological developments. Up until the dawning of the deep winter, it had been a rather average world, civilised and fairly self-sufficient, but with little to distinguish it from a million other worlds in the Imperium.
The people that had survived fled to the warmth of the hive-cities, hoping their descendants, at least, would one day be able to return to the land.

Comment on Danik's World's status relative ot the Imperium. Despite having hives (hive city?) it actually seems fairly habitable (or poetntially so) and not an industrial shithole like other ones. Meaning hive worlds can be 'hostile territory' - adverse weather/climate conditions or even Death Worlds (like Stalinvast) rather than simply being a place where shit-tons of people are crammed together to make localized industrial powerhouses.

Also this context would imply that civilised (or hive - depending on context) and largely self sufficient worlds are fairly common/average in the Imperium (contrasted with say, feral/feudal or forge worlds or industrial) which has interesting implications for the supposed 'inter-dependency' of Imperial worlds - economic interdpeendency perhaps? A reflection on extreme specialization? 'dependent' worlds like Hive and forge worlds can certianly be considered specialized and needing raw mateirals/resources to survive.

This could also help explain why there are supposedly 'billions' of hives but not nearly enough habitable planets in the Imperium :D

Page 604-605
Some officers had commented on the possibility of outside support for the rebels. Trade with pirates and arms smugglers was typical of all rebel worlds.

Given lack of contact with the Imperium and the official lines of trade and shipping, this is hardly surprising. Gotta sustain yourself somehow.

Page 606
Twelfth Army Command had underestimated the Danikkin Independence Army, and the rebels were punishing them for it, but Vlastan’s tactical council needn’t shoulder all that blame themselves. Lord Marshal Harazahn and Sector Command were as guilty as anyone else. Proper reconnaissance could have made all the difference. If they’d only known that the orks were here.
The rebel leader, Vanandrasse, had played things surprisingly well for an ex-PDF upstart.

Big shock, huh? Of course bear in mind there's some hefty politicla overtones for this.

Page 607
"A straight fight would have seen different results, I’m sure. From the words of the trooper we found in the woods, it’s clear the rebels employed every bit of shameless trickery at their disposal. They fought without honour or pride. That will come back to haunt them, I assure you."

Laugh at the idea of 'honour' all you like, but the Vostroyans in this novel do have some sort of standards they apply to warfare - at least until they're proven otherwise by the actions of those they're conquering/fighting (and sometimes, even after.) If they were the hardcore, brutal and fanatical types the propoganda stresses, they wouldn't have any weaknesses that the rebels would have exploited to poison, sabotage, etc. Again its hard to be 'honourable' or compassionate to people who will go to any lengths to torment you. Which is pretty damn tragic for all concerned, because it means lots of innocent people (or unaligned) get killed too by the 'noble' Imperials. Grimdark, and all that.

Page 612-613
Cold seeped into his body from the frozen ground as he fixed small, high-yield melta-charges to points that shielded vital wiring and control mechanisms. The Salamander was a scout variant, but it shared much of its construction with the Chimera on which it was based. The underside was vulnerable. The charges would burn straight through when the time came, and another machine would be rendered useless.
Who knew how old the Salamander was? It was certainly a former PDF machine, a leftover from the days of Danikkin loyalty, shipped from a nearby forge-world, probably Esteban VII, to serve in the Emperor’s name. Perhaps its venerable machine-spirit had known great honour before it had been turned against the Emperor’s forces.

Comment on vehicle acquisition. Rather interesting that the planet's PDF uses offworld vehicles, which suggests either that they had some lucky ties to the AdMech (rather unlikely given the whole 'average world' bit mentioned earlier) or equipment manufacturing is so prolific in this world that they can afford to export to lesser forces as well as the Guard.

Also use of meltabombs for more surgical demolitions it seems.

I suspect this is also meant to convey the Vostroyan ties to the AdMech - recall that they're a big part of administrating the world, although this novel does not really emphasize that part as much as the whole potential 'stereotype' thing I alluded to before. Before this novel there was never really any element of this in the Vostroyan makeup - they were notable for being an industrial/hive world with strong mechanicus ties and a past history/debt from the HEresy that meant they gave up firstborn sons to war and got to replenish thier numbers from home. By and lage, that and their ties to Hive Worlds (and the class conflict therein) should be enough 'flavour' to carry the book. Indeed, the 'stereotype' stuff is alot more prevalent than the acutal 'flavour', which is odd and again is the biggest thing wrong with this book in my view, even if it isn't an actual stereotype.

Page 613
Mankind has enough enemies among the stars without these idiotic secessionist wars. Division weakens us, leaving us open to xenos attack. It has to be stamped out.
The greater part of the enemy forces would be waking soon. There would be civilians, too.

Most refugees that passed through the Vostroyan-held towns were loyalists eager to escape persecution by Lord-General Vanandrasse’s agents.
They usually went west to the so-called contribution camps established by Old Hungry in the territories south of Seddisvarr. Once there, they were fed and housed, and put to work making coats, blankets and the like for the Vostroyan forces.
Since the camps were filled to bursting, the decision had been made to allow refugees to stay in the garrisoned towns, but the price of that decision was becoming all too apparent. Sebastev couldn’t be sure how many non-combatants remained in Nhalich. If they stayed out of the coming fight, they’d live through the day, but if they insisted on joining the battle, Sebastev’s men would cut them down without remorse.

Civilian or not, those who turned their back on the Emperor deserved no quarter.

The killing of misguided civilians was a grim duty, true, but it was hardly new to the men of Fifth Company.

Grimdark implications aside, I think it's meant to reflect the general insanity and futility of the situation like we see sometimes in the other IG novels and even in the HH series (compliance and the like.) It's a peculiar sort of humanity and fanaticsm blended in this - Sebatov here for example is disgusted with the waste of humans fighting humans (rather than humans vs xenos) but rather than making him less prone to war, it makes him (in his own way) more fanatical and callous. Not that the rebels are any better, nevermind the Orks. Hell its unliekly that anyone on the Imperium side even WANTS to be here (again a theme recurring for the first few novels - ther'es more important wars out there.) It's like Broucherac and Rogar III- 'no matter how the situation goes, its fucked'.

Even more odd is that they're not being quite so fanatical as some regiments (or Inquisitors, or Ecclesiarchy types) would - they're not treating everyone on the world uatomatically as a rebel simply by existing on a rebelling world. They're even putting them to work, feeding them, and defending them, which is more than most worlds coudl claim. Hell, the Vostroyans are putting themselves at risk by doing this, since the Rebels have no compunctions about exploiting that goodwill just to hurt the Vostroyans. That sort of behaviour would naturally engender the sort of reactions tha tmight lead to civilians being treated as potential targets, fucked up as that idea is.

Page 614-615
As Sebastev set the timer on the final charge, memories returned of the war on Porozh some thirteen years before. It had been a beautiful, lush world, warm with sunshine, covered in bright fields and orchards.
He remembered one, a young woman, her hat covered in flowers, who’d brought his men fruit while they patrolled the borders near her family’s orchards.
... of his troopers began retching. Then the trooper began vomiting mouthfuls of blood onto the grass..

More of Sebatev’s men fell to the ground around him, groaning, clutching their bellies and puking blood.
..a single shot to the back of her head at about sixty metres. All that beauty, all that light, extinguished with a crack of his bolt pistol.

Under all that beauty and light, he thought, Porozh was as sick and faithless as Danik’s World, as all rebel worlds. Scratch the surface and they were all the same, dead the moment they turned from the rest of the Imperium.

Of the men who had bitten into the poisoned fruit, three died that day and six were permanently injured, requiring augmetic organs. The rest received medical treatment in time to avoid long-term damage. No one ate local food again.

The girl’s family was burned to death for treachery.
New regulations on interacting with the local populace had come after that, but for many Guardsmen, it was too late. Thousands had caught terminal diseases from the local women. An official investigation concluded that the prettiest Porozhi had deliberately infected themselves before sleeping with as many of the occupation troopers as they could entice.
Those people turned everything they had against us. Why do all these traitors and heretics insist on sacrificing themselves for the ideals of madmen like Vanandrasse?

Sebastev had never forgotten the young woman’s face, the pretty smile as she handed him her deadly gift, the way her wounded head blossomed in the air like a crimson flower.

First off (and minor) Sebatev's bolt pistol demonstrates a range of at least 60 metres against a human sized target (headshot.) and probable partial headsplosion. Now that out of the way...

This is a further expansion ont hat 'horror/futility of war' thing I commented on just above, just a different world, showing yet again how fucked up and fanatical some people can get in resisting the Imperium (in reaction to its own fanaticism, which is in reaction to the way the galaxy is, etc.) and how it can fuck with a guy's head. I can believe Sebatov considers it a waste, and doesn't acutally *like* killing civilians in any case - but in both situations there is a definite 'us vs them' mentality. It's like the surrender thing before - would you surrender to people like this?

And while I can certainly belive the Imperium used its typical tact/diplomacy in this case (eg none - the Administratum were assholes towards the world for the most part, so small wonder they rebel) it's quite obvious the situation is being corrupted/exploited to personal (or other) ends. If Chaos was involved here, I wouldn't be surprised. Even worse I can see this making sense in-universe, given the Warp. Not all rebels/heretics have to be turned to Chaos or turned into chaos spawned mutants to be influenced by it. Or hell, even require Chaos daemon/god intervention to fuck up that way. Just a self-reinforcing sort of 'self-fufilling prophecy' in effect like we know can happen.

The most fucked up, I think, is that things outside the Imperium wouldn't be much better, whatever the rebels think. In this for example, even if the Imperium pulled out, they'd still have to deal with the Orks. And if it wasn't the Orks, it might be Chaos. Or the tau, or any of a number of Warp or Xenos-spawned threats. There's always some potential threat out there.

Like I said, it seems fucked up no matter what. In or out of the Imperium, living in the 40K galaxy when you would have a choice would be a sign of insanity.

Oh and augmetic organs to protect troops against poisoning. AS shit as their logistics may be, its better then broucherac by leagues.

Page 617
“There it is again, colonel,” said Karif, “a certain respect for the strength of the rebels. It’s a stark contrast to the attitudes that seem to prevail in Seddisvarr.”

“Twelfth Army propaganda, commissar,” said Colonel Kabanov. “They’d have you believe we’re fighting hapless fools. I wouldn’t put too much stock in it, if I were you. Good for morale, of course, but the greatest mistake a man can make is to underestimate his foe. The deep winter has made the Danikkin a hardy people. That they occupy the town up ahead should be ample proof of that. They’re not constricted by any sense of honour or piety. They fight with desperation. It gives them strength. Perhaps our own desperation will do the same for us.”

There it is again. That 'theory vs reality' of 'propgoanda vs actuality' we see so often in the IG novels up to this point. Propgoanda - like the Uplifting primer - is pretty much worthless despite what it is intended to do, and may actually be harmful. Despite that, the truth somehow (unofficially) gets out, although whether or not the commissars approve or not is another story (even the 'liberal' ones like this guy have limits.)

Also one thing you hear repeatedly is the Vostroyans talking about 'honour' and piety in combat and shit. They may be harsh, even brutal conquerors, but they do have limits of a sort, as we do see. and they pay for what little kindness they do offer, which makes it hardly surprising that Imperial propoganda emphasizes not the least bit of pity or compassion as a rule. Given what the rebels tend to do to earn 'freedom' - what is the point?

Page 617
“Honour means a great deal to the men of this company. You needn’t worry about that. But their survival means a great deal to the future of the regiment. I believe that sometimes, in order to serve the Emperor better, honour must occasionally be sacrificed."

Again, like in many of the IG novels, colonels tend to be the highest 'intelligent' officers we ever see. It might have something to do with that IG/munitorum divide that can exist (IIRC Munitorum officials appoint officers higher than colonel as a rule, although not in all cases. And politics governs much of the higher echelons of any military force, be they lord general militants or Warmasters.) Of course there are examples like Van Voytz in the Ghosts novels.

Page 618
"The history of the regiment is a chain unbroken for thousands of years. Despite countless wars and untold losses, there have always been survivors around whom the regiment could be restored. But the Danikkin… their hatred is a powerful thing. They don’t take prisoners, commissar. Enemies of their secessionist movement are killed at once. I believe that Fifth Company is the last remaining seed from which the regiment might again grow. The coming day will bring one of two things: either the breaking of our proud tradition, or another victory to add to it.”

A bit more on Vostroyan motivations and the nature of war on this planet. honestly you get a real impression the Vostroyans consider this worthless as a battle, and just want to leave, but they can't be allowed to (IMPERIUM NEVER GIVES UP.) and so it creates a real fucked up situation. Moreover, the war - the planet - the fanatics they deal with - are grinding down the regiments, and that matters to them. Apparnetly Vostroyan regiments continue uninterrupted only so long as there are survivors to continue. If it is wiped out to a whole, the regiment as a whole is wiped out. The sort of... beliefs, honour, etc.. all the mental and emotional shit that gets wrapped up in that (warp based or purely psychological) is significant, no matter how you look at it.

Page 621
The words of the officer class alone rarely painted accurate pictures. It was only by listening to the conversations of the rank-and-file that one could learn the truth as seen from ground level. He was confident that his reading would be well received, earning him a little more acceptance among the men.
Commissars are made for these kinds of odds, he thought. Glory abounds on such days. Victory may bring decorations, medals and promotions. With luck, I’ll receive the kind of recognition that will see me returned to a higher station, a station befitting my past achievements.
Karif had indeed memorised the text using techniques of mental imprinting taught to commissars in scholams throughout the Imperium,

Our friendly liberal commissar again. I still admit to finding him a fascinating, almost cain-like character. He is very much into the psychological things - he listens, motivates, inspires. He banters with the troops, he is tolerant and patient (rather than zealous and terrifying), and threats are a last resort (and rather subtle. He reminds them of his 'remit' rather than waving his gun around.) And if anything he's more than a little bloodthirsty, ambitious and damn courageous (or insane.) Again he's quite different from the 'in-game' depiction of modern commissars in many respects.

Also comment about the 'memorization' techniques - he memorized an entire Vostroyan holy book and can recite it from memory even while he's in the middle of fighting. Which, when you think about it, is quite a useful skill for someone who is supposed to lead and inspire by act as well as by word, showing that this guy may not actually be all that rare for the region he and the Vostroyans originate from.

Page 628
"There’s tank wreckage all over the road. It looks like armour from the 701st, sir.”

Confirmation that the 701st (at leats) had its own Armour elements if nothing else (whether its infantry, mechanised or armour isn't known.)

Page 627
The colonel’s driver, Samarov, held his speed steady so the vehicle didn’t pull away from the infantry squad it was shielding. Each of the Chimeras was followed by a squad on foot, pounding the snow packed hard by the broad treads of the thirty-eight tonne behemoths.

- the Infrantry squads are advancing behind the Chimeras, using them as shields against the enemy fire. mobile cover!

PAge 630
They’d been chewed up by the heavy stubbers that poked from dark apertures about fifteen metres up each face of the building. With all the mist hampering visibility somewhat, it seemed the rebel gunners were targeting his men by thermal signature. They fired with deadly accuracy.

The PDF/militia forces have access to thermal devices of some kind to assist in targeting. But apparently the NVG or other stuff troops cary (mentioned before) is not IR, given the use of mist as cover against the Rebel attack (the Vostroyans must not have any IR gear either, at least not on them.)

STill the presnce of IR targeting gear on mere heavy stubbers is useful and telling

Page 630
They lay in the middle of the street, leaking steam into the air frorm each of the fist-sized exit owunds on their backs.

Effect of Heavy stubber fire on unarmored vostroyans. Again the 'fist size'd holes points to the difference between las and projectile weapons - they seem to make narrower holes and rely on thermal effects, whilst bullets.. don't. Big holes and lots of bleeding/internal damage.

Even more interesting is that apparnetly the aformentioned Vostroyan 5th sniper rifles must be MORE effective than the heavy stubbers here, given the former made head sized holes in Orks (bigger AND tougher than humans) whilst this stubber is just making fist sized holes. OF course, we odnt know what kind of heavy stubber these are, it could be something like an M60 (like the heavy stubbers in Necromunda or in the IA vraks novels) or it might be the old 'Ma Deuce like' heavy stubbers tradtionally thought of.

Page 631
..his face was a mess of scar tissue and grafted skin..

skin grafts.

Page 632
"I’ve just heard him tell his men to stay calm, that the heavy stubbers will protect them. It sounds like we’re facing civilian militia, not former PDF."

Militia vs PDF.

Page 634
Colonel Kabanov organised Squad Breshek into two fire-teams in order to flank enemy positions.

Use of fire teams to subdivide squats again.

Page 634
"How many charge packs have you got?”

“Two in my pockets, sir,” said Stavin. “One up the spout with the counter reading half.”

Lower limit on Vostroyan charge pack numbers. P

Page 635
Even as Karif said the words, fresh waves of lasfire slashed out from the rebel held hab-stacks, hissing and sending up steam where they laced the snows.

Commentary on thermal and (probable) sustained/cutting fire from lasweapons. Assuming it vaporizes one cubic cm of snow to several cubic cm (corresponding to roughly 1-2 cm diameter beam) and the fact the chapter notes it as -26C outside we're talking ~247C. A 26K temp change (2100 J per kg*K for ice) plus heat of fusion for ice/water (334-335 kj per kg) Plus another 100K change (4185 J per kg*K) for boiling, and 2.25 MJ pre kg for vaporization, we're talking about 3.05 MJ per kg (call it 2-3 MJ per kg - in case I'm erring or in case its just direct to vaporization :P) we're talking at least 1 gram or so of snow vaped, possibly as much as 7-10 grams (depending on volume assumed for the diameter and depth) we're talking between 2-3 kj at least, to 14-21 kj by the estimates above. Single/double digit kj seems possible, again. Although note we're still talking about 'inefficient' heat ray type lasweapons still....

Page 635
“There are civilians in some of the habs, sir,” replied Sergeant Breshek...
“The rebels will have already killed those who joined our brother Firstborn in defending this place. Those still alive are either traitors, or bystanders that did nothing to prove their loyalty. Apathy and cowardice are as bad as treachery in my book. The Emperor will judge their souls. We send those souls before him.”

Another of those 'nature of war' things.

Page 636
Before Karif had time to mentally process what he was seeing, his hand rose of its own accord and fired off a lethal hail of laspistol shots.

The first Danikkin flankers was knocked from his feet, his face a smoking black oval.

Laspistol. Probably severe burns to face, but hard to say. Assuming 15x15 cm and 3rd degree burns or os (30-50 j per sq cm) we're talking 7-11 kj maybe. Could be more (400 J per sq cm and 20x20 cm face would be 160 kj) but it could be amongst several shots.

Page 636
“The lady left Vostroya with one hundred regiments of Firstborn in her charge. Many said she favoured her Vostroyan fighting men above all others, for they were grim and hardy, and they sold their lives dear for the honour of their world and for the Imperium they had sworn to serve.”

- mention of at least a hundred regiments of Vostroyans. It would be interesting to know when this is all supposed to be happening, and if it has any truth to it or is all fiction, given Vostroya in the Heresy was supposed to not have contributed anything, and the above sounds alot like the Vostroyans are serving in some Sabbat-worlds like Crusade (making the Gray Lady some sort of Saint Sabbat type figure.) Again, interesting element potential for stories, if people paid attention to any of this :P

Page 637
A squad of Danikkin rebels, ten heads by Karif s count, charged round the left-hand corner, firing wildly at the Vostroyans as they ran.
He darted through the gaping doorway just as another searing volley strafed the walls.Someone screamed outside: one of Breshek's men cut into burning chunks by enemy las-fire.

More direct confirmation of lasfire (somehow) slashing/raking/cutting apart as well as burning, rather than blowing holes in people. Wehther it was single shots or a barrage of shots raking across the target we don't know. But since we dont know how many shots to do this, how extensively he's torn to pieces, etc. its pretty much up for debate. If its the same squad as before, and its a single second's worth of lasfire, we might figure at least 125 j per sq cm over most of the body from the lasfire (if he or what he's weairng is burning..) which is at least 1.25 MJ for one or both sides. For one second or so of fire from a 10 man squad we're looking at 60-125 kw sustained lasgun fire. That doesn't factor in the 'cutting' elements, but then again its unlikely the body is 100% from head to toe hit by 'ignition' type flash burns, but since its hard to measure we'd generalize double triple digit kilowatt outputs for lasweapons, which is hardly inconsistent with everything else I've estimated (and tsince its an order of magnitude estimate at best..)

Page 640
“Don’t you dare pity these men, Stavin. They turned from the Emperor’s light. They put themselves above every other man, woman and child in our great Imperium. Never forget that.”

Commissar friendly again. THE IMPERIUM IS SOCIALIST! :P

Page 641
Sebastev’s pistol barked and spat a brass shell casing..

Bolt pistol ejecting yet another casing :P

Page 641
The bright beam scorched the air above him, missing by centimetres.

nother lasbolt/beam near-miss.

Page 642
Blemski's body shuddered as it was chewed apart by a score of impacts. Then it fell forward on the blood spattered snow and lay perfectly still.

Heavy bolters again. He's still mostly intact at least.

Page 642
Bright beams stabbed out, punching holes in the thick, quilted coats of the rebels and cutting deep,charred pathways into their flesh.
Bodies crumpled to the snow, some thrashing in pain from wounds that weren’t immediately fatal.

Lasfire again. Assumign 15 cm of penetration, and a 2-3 cm diameter hole would easily require single digit kj to penetrate (or double digit if its a CW 'heat ray' type). Charring flesh - call it between 30-400 J per sq cm to surrounding tissue - call it 90-150 sq cm surface area we get between 2.7-60 kj for each shot. Again single to double digit kj per shot.

Also an indication that location does matter when it comes to hitting people with lasfire, which sort of reinforces that it does share that property with gunfire, at least.

Page 643
“Move up and put them out of their misery,” ordered Sebastev. He threw Rodoyev a pointed look. “Remember that you are Firstborn, not torturers. You’re here to represent the Emperor. I want the wounded rebels dispatched quickly. No toying with them. Firstborn fight with honour.”

A bit of soldier humanity.

Page 648
The men and women of the Special Patriotic Service were hated and feared by their own people.

Here was an agent of the secession whose task it was to purge Imperial loyalists from the populace, and to ensure absolute dedication to Lord-General Vanandrasse among the forces of the Danikkin Independence Army. They were reputed to be masters of torture and intimidation.

Not only do they look like commissars, thought Sebastev, but they share much of the same remit.

To some extent, however, the limits of their authority differed. The Danikkin officer-patriots had power over both civilian and military conduct. The history of their organisation, going back only a few decades according to Imperial intelligence reports, was bloody and brutal.

Sebastev's view of the danikan equivalent of Commissars (which shows what great people they are. Reminds me of Vraks). And also his view of Commissars. :P although it does sound liek Commissars might be a bit better. (Karif for his part hates the fucker and has to restrain himself from executing him.)

Page 649
“I am Brammon Gusseff, a patriot-captain attached to the Danikkin Eleventh Mobile Infantry Division.”

MOBILE INFANTRY. Probably means mechanised rather than power armour :P

Page 654
“The Twelfth Army doesn’t take prisoners in this campaign. You know that. We’re stretched too thin already without worrying about detainees.”

Self explanatory, although in this case the 'special' prisoner for the rest of the novel is an exception for some reason. Still pretty harsh, which highlights the fucked up nature of this conflict (and shows they actually DO take prisoners, although being an Imperial prisoner is not neccesarily something to hope for instead of death.)

Page 655
Kabanov ordered his adjutant to record the general’s words. Maro dug a battered old data-slate from a side pocket and began writing on the screen...

Transcribing function of data slate.

Page 655
"The orks have launched a major offensive there. If they reach either of Grazzen’s bridges, our Thirty-Fifth Armoured Regiment have been ordered to destroy them."

35th armoured reigment.

Page 655
“Grazzen is over three hundred kilometres from our current position, general, and we’ll be lucky if the orks haven’t already taken the mountain pass. Just how long do you think we have?”

Distance between Nhalich and Grazzen. This makes the distance approximately 400-500 km they intend to travel from Korris to now Grazzen, setting an approximate range on Chimera and Pathcutter. A rather low end one, given that there has been no mention of refuelling or even running out of fuel. Given the 1500 km range for a Leman Russ Executioner in Defixio (a Salvar Chem-Dog tank at that) its not really shocking.

Also reflects that my earlier estimates on travle speed based on the map (Helvarr to Ohslir in 'a few hours' may have been conservative, as I noted before, although this assumes the distances on the map are to scale :P

Page 657
“Not Basilisks,” shouted Kabanov over the noise of more shelling.

“No, sir,” replied Sebastev as they ran. “One of their own machines. An Earthshaker would have snuffed us all out with the first shot.”

The rebels have their own artillery (or variation), but less potent than Earthshakers. Whether it is some kind of mortar (like a Griffon) or something else, we don't know.

Page 659
Day 687

Nhalich, East Bank — 15:58hrs.

They leave the town at nearly 4 pm.

Page 662-663
He had little left in common with mortal men. Over hundreds of years, most of his organs and extremities had been replaced or upgraded.

...a slight motion of his shoulders suggested to Sebastev that the old machine-man was chuckling to himself.
"I have lived a very long time. In recent years, I have slowed. Processing takes more time. My functions include more frequent errors. My biological systems are finally collapsing centuries beyond their natural lifespan.”
I always regarded this man as little more than a functionary, thought Sebastev with no small sense of shame. When did I forget that he is a man of Vostroya?
Politnov’s laugh was audible this time: a dry, toneless sound like metal scraping on metal.

A techpriest who lived centuries, and yet has a sense of humor and is likable. And also from Vostroya (meaning the Admech recruits from there as well as ruling it.) I really really like Steve PArker's books.

Page 665
Kabanov’s age wasn’t considerable when compared to many high-ranking Imperial officers, but, unlike the others, General Vlastan included, he’d never opted to undergo expensive and often excruciating rejuvenat treatments. He had money enough to pay for them — House Kabanov had more than its fair share of investments on Vostroya and its neighbouring worlds — but he’d always trusted that the Emperor would take him when it was time.

High up IG officers from the aristocracy (Colonel and higher) seem to usually have the wealth and position necessary ot get rejuv, although in this case it is apparently quite painful. In retrospect this seems like a dumb idea on Kabanov's part. As noble as he is, he is also a symbol of his regiment and a source of pride, and he would not be sick and dying had he gone through the treatments. While it probably would not suit him personally to do so, one could argue he could think of the good of his men.

Page 667
“How did you enjoy that pictslate?”
..he’d confiscated a porn-slate discovered by two troopers searching the bodies in Reivemot Square in order to avoid fighting among the men.
“Naturally I destroyed it, sergeant,” he said. “A man of the Imperial Creed wouldn’t sully his eyes looking at filth like that. He’d have to flagellate himself.”

“We’ve got a different word for it on Vostroya, commissar, but I’m sure the meaning is the same.” The sergeant enjoyed a laugh, his infectious mirth spreading to the men seated on either side of him.

Karif had lied, of course. He had examined the images displayed on the cracked screen of the device. He’d been stunned that such unflattering and clumsy pictography could represent a source of entertainment to anyone. The subjects were unattractive to begin with.

The Emperor alone knows how you Vostroyans can find delight in such sturdy, thick-fingered women, he thought. Then again, they say Vostroya is a cold place. Perhaps the value of such women is in the heat they generate. And they look like hard workers. I suppose that counts for something.

Again this commissar is, by commissar standards, a damn reasonable guy amongst Imperials. How many troopers, sergeants even, would dare to joke to their commissar about reading pornography? And how many would take it as a joke rather than as a sign of laxity and perform a summary execution (or just be insulted and execute the man?) Karif is just fucking amazing.

This passage was also preceded by the sergeant apologizing to the commissar for offending him, and Karif just waving it off by saying he was his own person with his own 'merits and flaws' by which he'd be measured by. Again the conversational way he banters with and tolerates the oddities of the Vostroyans, without diluting his essential zeal/fanaticism and devotion to his men or the Imperial Creed, is phenomenal.

Also we get an author other than Dan Abnett or Sandy Mitchell who admits to porn in the Guard. What's more, it shows that 'different worlds' mentality in the Guard - everyone having different appearances, dress styles, languages, cultures, interests, etc. What is a standard of beauty on one world is apparently not one on a different one.

Page 667
..a patch of burnt skin below his left eye. The burn was probably the result of a near-miss back at Nhalich. Las-bolts could still singe flesh if they passed close enough without hitting.

A 'near miss' from a lasgun can cause burns of some kind, although I suspect in this case they're not particularily serious. Mild second degree or first degree at most. Not much as far as 'energy' goes (assuming a 10-15 cm long, 2-3 cm wide burn scar and 10-20 j per sq cm for 1st/2nd degree burns) 20-45 sq cm burn area estimated, which is between 200-900 j, and probably more towards the low end. The actual energy of the bolt, unsurprisingly, would be much greater :P

What is actually interesting - as far as I think of it - is how this affects/influences wound diameters in laswounds, at least as far as burns go. It does imply the damage can extend at least a short distance round the wound channel itself (which we know can be up to several cm or so based on various examples) It can't be too much - we have too many other examples of 'near misses' centimeters from the target and doing fuck all, but a centimeter or half a centimeter away from the bolt/beam itself makes some sense. In this context, we might infer that a laswound in this novel is therefore between 3-5 cm or so in diameter usually. Which does fit with a few cases later.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-06 06:19pm

Part 3

Page 668-669
Suddenly reminded that he was talking to a political officer, Kovo’s cheeks flushed, but he held Karif’s gaze.

Karif let his smile put the trooper at ease. “I haven’t met the man myself, but I’ve heard he could do with a few laps around the compound, so to speak.”
"He calls the man Old Hungry on account of all the Vostroyan lives his career has needed to sustain itself. Look under ‘attritionist’ in a lexicanum and you’ll see a picture of General Vogor Vlastan."
“If it weren’t for Vlastan’s political connections with the Administratum and the bigwigs out of Cypra Mundi, he’d never have made general in a million years.”
“Man’s a bloody fool. We should have swept on the hive-cities as soon as we made planetfall.”
“Who knew the orks were here, too? If you ask me, it’s hardly the general’s fault. The Twelfth Army was undermanned from the start. Look to the Lord- Marshal if you want to blame someone.”

Commentary on IG operations and strategery from the soldier perspective. The General seems to generally be considered a useless fool for being a glory hungry Zapp Brannigan type, which is interesting given he was given such a (relatively speaking) minor, unimportant war to get him out of the way (not unlike Fifteen hours, actually.). And its also implied someone like him would never have been put in a position of power were it not for politics and connections. although it seems a fair number of troopers blame the General's superiors for sending them out here without the proper intel, support, etc.

Also the Commissar again shows he's a tolerant, patient man where the troops are concerned.

Page 669
He took his laspistol from the holster at his hip and aimed the barrel at the floor of the passenger compartment.
The odour of ionised air and metal reached out to every nose in the cramped space. Wisps of smoke rose from a circular scorch mark in the floor.

Laspistols and lasguns seem to be shit against metal in this novel all around.

Page 670-671
"What say you? Will you join me in asking the spirits of our fallen comrades to aid us, to galvanise our hearts for the coming fight? On your damned knees, every last one of you.”
They’re a bloody-minded rabble when left to their own devices, he said to himself, but see how pious they are then the moment calls for it. I had thought there would be trouble, a struggle between their loyalty to the Cult Mechanicus and their faith in the Imperial Creed. But no. Over the millennium, they’ve found a balance between both. It’s remarkable.

The Commisar showing his spine again, and showing that even for a liberal there are limits. Basically the troopers grow fractious outside of combat (where they are disciplined) he steps in and berates them for their arguments, and that they owe the Colonel and Captain their loyalty and their best efforsts for the honour of the Emperor, regiment, blah blah blah and so on. All the right propoganda. But the fact he's using words and inspiration rather than threats and a loaded gun to motivate them definitely marks him out as being better than Commisars are typically depicted. heck he uses their faith and prayer as a motiviational tool, because he recognizes its qualities.

Also commentary on the duality of the Vostroyans, which is interesting but is not really touched on much in this novel - they're both of the Mechanicus and of the Ecclesiarchy in equal measure, which means they live in two different worlds (or straddling both) as well as being a sort of hive world.

Page 671
In the early hours of the morning, in the darkness, the driving snows and the howling winds, Fifth Company’s vehicles began their steep climb up into the Varanesian Peaks.

Morning, up the mountain. They left Nhalich at 4 pm the previous day, meaning 12-14 hours or so to reach this piont, depending on how one defines 'morning' (in my case I figure 4-6 am)

Figure on at least 150-200 km or so to reach that piont (hard ot scale exactly based on examples.) which is a rather slow 10-20 km/hr tops, but it’s also worth noting that weather conditions are extremely bad.. worse than before, what with ‘metres’ of snow and all that and the visibility gets even worse.

Page 671
The pass was buried under metres of snow, but it was well mapped and had been marked out with beacons placed at regular intervals. The beacons repeatedly transmitted short bursts of noise that could be followed using a standard cockpit auspex.

The vehicles have ausepx navigation, and the Vostroyans deploy beacons to assist in night time navigation/driving - at least in hazarodus conditions. Which can go some wy to explaining the slow speeds just above.

Page 671
For the first time in long, stressful hours, he could see beyond the plex bubble of his cockpit. He still needed the auspex to guide him through the falling snow, but every few moments he raised his head form the green monitor screen to peer outside.

Again auspex.

Page 673
Vostroyan Firstborn poured down the ramp in the damaged Pathcutter’s belly, shaken by the impact, but unharmed thanks to the shielding between the cockpit and the troop compartment.

Apparently there's some sort of compartmentalization that protects passenger and driver compartments from damage from one or the other.

Page 674
Sebastev fought the urge to rub his eyes. It was difficult to believe what he’d seen just before the rocket hit.

For just a fraction of a second, he’d glimpsed a little green figure sitting near the nose of the rocket before it smashed into its target. The creature’s face was twisted and insane with glee, baring needle-like teeth in mad laughter as it raced towards death.

They’re using gretchin to guide their rockets, thought Sebastev.
Another rocket screamed past the smoking transport, heading towards their unprotected position. Both men instinctively ducked, but Sebastev had a much better view this time. His eyes met those of the mad gretchin pilot. The diminutive ork cackled and yanked hard on its guidance levers, but it was too late to adjust the rocket’s trajectory enough to hit the vulnerable Vostroyans. Sebastev thought he could hear the frustrated scream of the mad pilot as the rocket blazed a smoky trail over their heads and disappeared into the screen of falling snow.

Orks use gretchin for rocket guidance. I remember this actually being the first time I ran across this in fluff back int he early days - but I didn't know then that it was actually part of the early fluff from the games (I know differently now, of course) and I thought it was original. either way its still hilarious, and for me this entire book can be summed up by this passage - and indeed its the one thing I remembe rmost about Rebel Winter.

Page 674
“What about the damned woods?” snapped Sebastev.

“They’re infested, sir,” replied the trooper, “with squigs!”

As if rocket powered Gretchin weren't bad enough.

Page 675
...the Firstborn had fixed bayonets to the ends of their lasgun barrels and were sweeping the deadly mono-molecular-edged blades through the tide of strange foes.

Yet mor ehigh end tech. The Firstborn are using mono-edged knives. This makes the second blatant example I recall being mentioned (the first being Last Chancers omnibus) so there we go :D

Page 676-677
Rubrikov’s face was hidden from view by a fat yellow squig. Blood streamed from the troopers head where the beast’s fangs had punched through flesh and into bone.
A bright green squig closed its mouth over Rubrikov’s flailing left hand, severing it completely.
He pulled his laspistol from its holster and fired a single powerful shot into the body of the squig that was clamped to the soldier’s face. The bolt burned straight through the squig’s body and ended the trooper’s suffering instantly.

Squigs are described as being spherical, and these are roughly the size of a head (or close to it) and definitely big enough to bite off a hand. Call it 10-15 cm of Squig to punch through, plus another 5-10 cm or so to penetrate and kill perhaps the human head, we can call it 15-25 cm Almost certainly another 'single or double digit' KJ example, depending on exact wound diameter, extent of thermal damage (burn severity) and the wounding mechanism (thermal or mechanical, etc.)

Page 678
a Vostroyan Chimera lay overturned. Black smoke billowed into the air from its rear hatch and firing ports. A large ork, its silhouette a confused mass of cables and squared edges, tore at the bared underside of the vehicle with some kind of massive augmetic claw. Vostroyan las-beams blazed out at it from a shallow bank at the side of the road. Karif thought that must be where Chelnikov’s men were trapped.
“Who’s firing on that ork mech?” barked Captain Sebastev over the vox. “You’re wasting your damned time. Lasfire won’t penetrate armour that thick. I want a heavy bolter on him, now. Where the hell is Kashr?”

Like with a good many other cases, we see lasguns have shit penetration (either by deisgn or lack of raw firepower) against metal in this novel. This time it seems to be a cybernetically augmented ork. Also, the 35th seem to have at least some Chimeras of their own, or at least it implies they do here.

Page 678
He was a huge Vostroyan, so large that he looked ready to burst out of his bronze-coloured cuirass. The Fabric of his greatcoat was stretched tight over arms swollen with muscle. As the big trooper hefed his heavy bolter in readiness to fire on the augmentic ork, Karif could see just how he'd built such a massive physique. The oversized gun was usually fielded by a two-man team. Kashr wielded it alone.

Yet another of those huge, Bragg/Harker type IG troopers who can heft and fire heavy weapons one handed. Not unlike Necromundan heavies, or that guy mentioned in the Munitorum manual lifting and firing an autocannon unaided. :D

Page 678
He saw the big augmetic ork shudder as bolt after bolt struck its armour plates. Blue sparks flashed into life with each impact, vanishing just as quickly. Then the stream of bolts found a weak point — the armour was thinnest on the monster’s sides. The ork began roaring and howling as explosive rounds punched through metal and deep into the green flesh beneath, detonating within and causing massive internal damage.

Kashr stopped firing. The ork looked down at its tattered torso in apparent disbelief for a moment before tumbling forwards from the top of the ruined Chimera onto the snow below.

Heavy bolter vs Cybork.

Page 680
One gretchin managed to shoot the last of the returning troopers in the leg and the man went down screaming just a few metres in front of Karif. Karif didn’t hesitate. He leapt out from cover and grabbed the wounded man by the collar of his greatcoat, hauling him back towards the others.

Again, heroic commissar. although its not his fault the Gretchin kill the poor bastard shortly after he tries to save him.

Page 681
At such close range, the orks didn’t need accuracy to score with their oversized pistols and stubbers. Vostroyan men were blasted backwards as they tried to move in, their chests smashed open by the impact of the massive ork slugs.
Each Firstborn had been trained well in the ossbohk-vyar, and their skills at hand-to-hand combat were outstanding, but the sheer power of the orks couldn’t be denied. Where the crude ork weapons connected with flesh, men fell dead to the ground, their bodies broken open, spilling hot blood over the snow.

Ork gunfire vs carapace. And Ork melee weapons vs carapace. This is why close range against Orks (when you're a human) is a bad idea, usually.

Page 683-684
"When we left a few hours ago, the entire length of our defences was under heavy siege. I’m not talking about the usual rabble, either. This is the most organised attack I’ve ever seen from greenskins. They’re clearly following a pre-established strategy.”
"they began by launching a systematic series of probing assaults along our defensive line, fielding just enough of their force to make us reveal the extent of our strength at each defensive position. Subsequently, they launched concentrated attacks on the outposts farthest from our supply depots. Since then, they’ve pushed through our defensive line and converged on the city centre from several breaches. This side of the river is a warzone. Optimistic estimates have total ork domination of Grazzen’s east bank in less than two hours from now.”

Commentarey on Ork tactics.

Page 684
“Some of my men will have to squeeze into your Pathcutter, but it’s not far from here to Grazzen. We need to leave now.”

Again the 35th seems to have its own vehicles as well as the 68th.
Also 2 hours to get to the city now from their current location (estimated). Also they 'left' a few hours ago.

Page 685
Day 688

Valles Carcavia — 10:21hrs,

As Fifth Company descended the north side of the Varanesian Peaks, Sebastev could feel powerful winds hammering against the side of Colonel Kabanov’s Chimera.

The Imperial forces are now descending the mountain. Disregarding the delay of the fight, and reclaling that they spent the early hours of the morning going up the mountain (call it 4-6 am) we're looking at more than four but less than 7 hours for the vehicles to traverse said mountain.

The mountain judging by the map (assuming it scales) is around 50-100 km across. ASsuming straight line and not factoring in for elevation and the problems that creates we’re talking an average speed as slow as 7 kph but up to 25 kph depending on scaling and context. Again given conditions and the variables this isn’t unusual.

Page 685
“Here they are: tactical maps of Grazzen. The situation may have radically changed in the few hours since I left"

Again 'few hours' since they have left.

Page 686
“The Thirty-fifth has twelve tank platoons guarding all the main roads towards the bridge. General Vlastan sent out five further tank platoons to support us. They arrived last night."
"I can’t tell you what it did for morale when our men saw all those Leman Russ tanks and Basilisk artillery platforms rolling over the bridge from the west.”

The 35th IIRc a platoon has at least 4-6 tanks in it, which means we're talking at least a good 4-6 dozen tanks at least, which may not include infantry or armour or other such. The other 5 tanks arrived 'last nite' (it is 10:21 hours now) and the dispatch promised to help the 68th by Vlasten was between 11:21 and 3:58 pm roughly (previous chapters.) So we're probably talking less than a day depending on when 'night' happens. As few as 4 hours, possibly as many as 12 hours or so (arriving before midnight, and assuming immediate deployment. I'd probably figure 8 hours or so is a likely figure.

We also can guess from the map that the distance between Seddisvar (headquarters, to the west) and Grazzen is perhaps some 300 km or so (similar to other distances mentioned in the text, like from Nhalich to Grazzen). Which is minimum range fo rthe Leman Russ tanks, but also an (on road) speed of between 75 and 25 kph. 8 hours (splitting the middle) is 37.5 kph. And it does not factor in weather conditions and assumes a perfectly straight-line course.

Also the Vostryaon 35th seems to be a mixed tank and mechanised/infantry regiment, possibly with its own artillery. The assistance they got from HQ does have arty attached, so they're not exactly 'specialized'

Page 687-688
It’s too broad for the orks to cross without getting chewed up by our heavy bolter nests, and their vehicles can’t cover the open ground without taking fire from our tanks, Sentinels and lascannon batteries.

They have heavy bolters, lascannon, and sentinels as well.

Page 689
"You should have heard Major Ushenko’s reaction to that. We’ve got men from the underhives in our company who’d never heard language like that.”

Vostroyans have hives, so they must have underhivers. it actually makes that sort of 'aristorcat vs common' prejudice so pervalent understandable, given many hives have that (Necromunda being an obvious example.)

Page 690
“Very clever,” said Commissar Karif, “incredibly so for a mere ork, don’t you think?”
“It seems the ork leader needed a little something extra to motivate his troops. We all know that orks are rarely as stupid their reputation suggests. The ork infantry would’ve been reluctant to cross the highway without any cover. From what Captain Chelnikov has told us, the heavy bolters of the Thirty-Fifth were waiting to chew them up. Their losses would have been very heavy. So how does one force a reluctant army to charge an entrenched enemy? Excluding the employment of commissars, of course,”
Colonel Kabanov nodded. “Light fires behind them.”
“Very effective,” said Commissar Karif with a nod. “Not only does it push the troops forward en masse, but it cuts off any notion of retreat at the same time. I’d call that a very strong motivator indeed. I’d consider employing it myself under extreme circumstances.”

Ork motivational tactics. Set a fire behind your men. Its just so perfectly orky.

Page 693
Day 688
East Grazzen — 12:07hrs

They're in Grazzen now, meaning it took an hour and a half (not more than two hours or so) to get down from the mountain and to the city. Judging by the map its no less than 50 km, but more probably 75-100 km (its 2/3 of the way from the mountains to Grazzen, roughly) so we’re talking no less than 25-33 kph (on road speed however.) and more probably 37.5-66 kph. For Chimeras and pathcutters, that’s damn fast even for on road speeds, esp since the Pathcutters are bound to be slower due to their greater size.

Page 693-694
"I know they’re well shielded, but I don’t want our promethium tanks blowing up when we’re right in the middle of that inferno.”
Even through the heavy shielding of the Chimera’s hull, with his cloak and hat removed and his greatcoat unfastened, Sebastev felt like he was being baked alive in an oven.

These chimeras are running on promethium. And Chimera hulls seem to be designed to resist high temps as well as extreme cold.

Page 695
If the Twelfth Army ever pulls out of this campaign, I’ll take some consolation in the knowledge that the Imperial Navy will bomb the damned planet to dust.

Sebastev thinks that if they ever retreat from the world the Navy will wipe out all life. Which given the orks means down to the spore/cellular level (outright sterilization) although the number of ships involved, the method, and the duration are completely unknown so we can't calc it.

Page 696
The Chimera had lost all electrical power. He’d have to work the hatch free manually. He put all his strength into the effort, throwing his weight against the manual release lever.

Manual release for Chimera.

Page 696-697
"Does anyone know exactly where on this door the locking bolts are?”
"Both are well shielded and made of titanium."
“I’m not entirely sure that my chainsword could manage the task, but couldn’t a power sabre slice through the bolts?"
..he pressed the point of the blade to the seam where the hatch met the frame of the Chimera and pushed forward. The machine-spirit of the power sabre protested, changing its hum to an angry buzz as it slowly carved a path through the thick metal.
After a few moments, Sebastev lurched forward suddenly. His blade had punched straight through to the outside of the vehicle, severing the first of the bolts. The sword gave a last loud crack as the charge cell in its hilt died.
“I’ll have to swap cells before I tackle the other.”
Sebastev moved back and switched the cell in his sword. Maro gave a triumphant laugh a few moments later as his blade sliced through to the far side of the hatch. The last bolt was severed.

Indicator of limitations on chainsword and power weapon performance. Power saber can cut through titainum locking bolts for Chimera hatch - and indeed punch through the chimera's hull easily. We dont know the exact damage mechanism, but it takes all the power in the power pack to do it. Which can be switched out like a lasgun pack it seems, showing it is fairly compact and not one of those 'backpack/side pack' ones connected by a cable.

Page 704
In his right hand, his hellpistol cracked and an ork at the front of the charrge tumbled to the ground, headless.

Hellpistol does bolter scale damage to an Ork. Although whether it simply cuts the head off or explodes it, we don't know. Ork heads being bigger and tougher than human, it probably takes double, if not triple digit kj at least to do that if explody. Slicing through would be less energy intensive (more efficient,) but narrow holes require more shots, meaning the hellpistol would be firing a sustained/raking beam of multiple shots (eg having a full auto mode) and probably even then require over 10 shots. Fewer shots menas wider holes, but you coul dprobalby get away with double digit kj in that case and a SMG-like hellpistol.

It also goes without saying that laspistols are going to be about 1/2 to 1/4 the firepower of this one, depending on source.

Page 705

Instead, he spotted a dark crevasse in the road, a tear in the rockcrete surface that had probably been caused by a Vostroyan Earthshaker round during the Thirty Fifth Regiment's attmepted defence of the town. The impact on the street had punched a hole straight through to the sewers beneath.

The hole is wide enough for people to pass, so its at least a hlaf metre/metre wide. We dont know if it was HE or penetration that did the damage, though so its hard to measure.

Page 706
Tanks and artillery platforms could be heard booming and rumbling through the metres of rockcrete between the tunnel’s ceiling and the streets above.

Implied thickness of street (at least 2-3 m thick) which means that if we were dealing with a hole made by HE it might be roughly hemispheircal, at least a good 4-6 m in diameter, we might be talking at least 15, 25 or 38 kg of TNT depending on exact diameter (4, 5, 6) -at least if I did the math right. And if the hole was made from HE blast rather than kinetic impcat (which would be different parameters entirely.) So this probably shouldn't be taken as gospel, but its still an interesting note.

Page 707-708
Squad Gdolkin opened fire immediately. Lasguns cracked with uncommon sharpness in the enclosed confines of the sewers. Beams slashed out, cutting green bodies into smoking pieces.
Scores of them fell howling as las-bolts carved deep black wounds into their flesh.
The gretchin had been so intent on their task that they were utterly unprepared to defend themselves.
“Hold your fire!”
The surviving gretchin, of which there were just over twenty, began firing back.

A reduced squad of ~6 troopers and a sergeant, plus the Commissar and his adjutant (with his own lasgun) opens fire on scores of gretchin, killing scores (4-5 per trooper) in a few seconds (short enough that they stop firing before the Gretchin fire back). Most notable is that the lasfire seems to be slicing/raking apart the gretchin quite easily, although we dont know how many times they’re cut apart. That’s roughly 1.3-2.5 Gretchin per second I should note, or if we assume all the shots in a 60 shot powerpack, thats 12-15 shots per gretchin, tops.

Assuming simply cut in half through the torso (like in First and Only) and a 40 cm wide, 20 cm thick Gretchin torso and wounds 1-2 cm in dimaeter. ‘blaster’ types would be around a few kj per gretchin (call it 3-5 kj) and ‘heat ray’ would be double digit kj (call it 40 kj or so) Slicing through one torso with a blaster type at that rate would easily require 10+ shots (30-50 kj per Gretchin at least) and many hundreds of kilojoules for heat ray (400-800+ kj at least per gretchin!) If it simply boils the tissue in the middle the yields aren’t quite so bad (assume some sort of steam explosion with boiling as a side effect) .5-1.3 kg affected at least (1-2 cm area sliced remember) which is 134 to 348 kj for boiling (cauterization might be a few times bigger.)

Heat rays are probably unlikely even though the weapon is mostly thermal. a Heat ray takes time to burn through with any sort of RL laser, and anythign with penetration would probably be able to burn through more easily and do some blasting damage as well (something more like xr-ay lasers or particle beams as far as penetration goes, that is.) but it is still worth noting. There is also the thermal component - assuming 2nd or 3rd degree burns at least through torso (30-50 J per cc) we get between 48 and 80 kj per gretchin, which is close to the ‘blasting’ effect, but may suggest I was too conservative unless we split the difference at 50 kj or so. :P

With 30-50 kj per Gretchin each second we get a sustained lasgun output of at least 40-125 kw. If we go by ‘flash burn’ effects estimated we get between 62 and 200 kw sustained output (at least.) It goes without sayin gthat in this case the heat rays are very high triple digit kw to low single (or double) digit MW (half a megawatt at least easily). Boiling effects are less insane 174-870 kw sustained effect.

I’m leaning towards the lower end of the scale, although if the lasfire sliced through gretchin multiple times (and doesnt factor in limbs I dont think) and if there is significant overpenetration, but for the most part I suspect it’d fit in an order of magnitude, and hundreds of kw sustained firepower is a reasonable approximation for lasguns.

Page 708
They hefted their heavy pistols with two hands and loosed shots off towards Grodolkin's men.


The Gretchin fired again and again as the Vostroyans rushed forward, but the weight of their pistols made it difficult for them to aim properly. Even so, given the volume of fire they loosed at the charging men, it was inevitable that some shots would find their marks. The Vostroyan's cherished carapace armour saved their lives, absorbing most of the impacts form those shots, even at close range.

Gretchin opening fire on Vostroyans. Carapace armour protects against the Gretchin firearms at close range.

Page 708
The luckless man was thrown backwards, lifted clear off his feet with his head demolished. Before the responsible gretchin could reload, both Karif and Stavin raced forward closing the distance at a sprint.

Implications of the destructive capability of Gretchin firearms. They're probably either big heavy bullets and/or powerful (magnum perhaps?) scale guns.

Page 709
“If a single las-bolt had struck the explosives, sergeant,”
“we’d have met a very noisy and, in my opinion, early death.”

Lasbolts can set off explosives. Whether its temperature or pressure we don't know, but I'm betting on temp.

Page 712
..his every blazing shot sent another smoking ork corpse down under the feet of its fellows, but therew ere just too many.

Hellpistol again.

Page 712
Troopers Mitko and Pankratov, both of whom wielded plasma guns, loosed devastating rounds that were almost too bright to look at. The orks were packed so close that every blast of superheated plasma obliterated dozens of them.

Depends on what 'obliterate' means, but assuming they take wide spread 2nd or 3rd degree wounds (and assuming orks are 30% bigger in every dimension call it 2 m tall and 70-100 cm across we're tlaking 15,000-20,000 sq cm. per body. At 20-50 j per sq cm at least we're talking 300 to 1,000 kilojoules per shot, which translates to single/double digit MJ for 'dozens' of Orks per blast.

Page 712
Troopers Kovo, Grishna and Tzunikov sent burning streams of promethium out towards the enemy, scorching scores of them to death and forcing the others back. But the press of bodies was so tight that the greenskins had nowhere to go. In those first few seconds of the battle, the toll taken by the flamers was gratifyingly heavy.

Flamers seem equally as devastating. Again assuming 2nd to 3rd degree burns we're talking 300-1,000 KJ per Ork potentially and 'scores' of orks means single/double digit MJ within seconds from two flamers.

Page 712
Trooper Kashr strafed the orks with deadly explosive shells, killing scores of them as he ran forward. The weapon’s rate of fire was incredible but, all too quickly, his ammunition was spent.

Single person heavy bolter action again.

Page 713
..his bolt pistol barked again and again, and thick ork skulls detonated with sprays of blood, brain matter, and bone fragments.

Sebastev's bolt pistol again. Basically equivalent to blowing a guy's torso apart (or at least putting a damn huge hole in/through it)

Page 713
That was the nature of orks. They seldom fell from anything but a lethal strike to the brain or to certain vital organs...

Comment on Ork durability.

Page 713-714
The manhole cover was frozen shut. It may as well have been welded shut given the incredible hold the ice had on it.
"Is there a flamer in your squad, sergeant?"


"Lasguns commissar?"

"They won't damage the manhole cover itself, but if we fire enough las-bolts at its underside, I think they should provide more than enough heat to melt the ice thats fixing it in place, don't you?"


He called three of his men forward and ordered them to stand at the bottom fo the ladder, firing vertically at the disk of black metal above their heads. After a moment, Karif called for them to stop.


At the top of the ladder, he reached out a gloved hand and checked the temperature of the cover's underside. It was still warm, but no longer scalding hot.

The intial temperature outside was -22 degrees celsius. Assuming some 250K, and a 5mm 'gap' between the manhole cover and the manhole itself, as well as around 5 cm 'depth' for the manhole cover, and around 40 cm diameter. we get around 280 grams of ice melted, and at least 383 kj per kg to melt ice, which means a bit over 100 kj (107) is needed to melt the ice. But they're not just melting the ice directly, they're heating the manhole cover. Its not glowing noticably but its hotter than normal (safe) to touch). Metal starts to glow around 770K, but something hot enough to burn (like an iron) would burn at around 350-550K or so depending on the kind of iron and what its used for (and it wouldn't matter.) Assume between a 100-300K temp increase for the manhole cover, made of iron (600 j per kg*K) and the dimensions above I assumed would be about 50 kg or so. Which seems a bit odd so maybe half that (inch thick manhole rather than 2 inches, although the latter is possible) for 25 kg. Assuming 25 kg, 100K temp change it requires around 1.5 MJ to heat up.

For 3 men over a 1-2 second duration we’re talking 250-500 kw sustained output estimated, which again fits into that rough ‘triple digit kw’ ballpark for Vostroyan lasweapons. If we go just by the ice metling of course we’re talking 17-35 kw (but that’s conservative since it doesn’t even factor in the heating of the manhole, which is the target, and its quite possible the ice covering is significantly greater than I estimate.)

Also, unsurprisingly, we have yet another case where Vostroyan lasguns do shit all against metal. Even with a 2 inch ‘structural steel’ cover a good 5-10 kj lasbolt (10 1 kj pulses 5mm spot size and 10 microsecond delay) could punch through. Given the yields estimated above, the highly thermal nature of the weapons, and the deep (but localized) penetration on organic tissues despite being incapable of repeatedly penetrating metal, I think we can safely say that the Vostroyan lasguns have been configured for antipersonnel/unarmoured targets rather than anti-armour/AP work.

Page 717
"Lieutenant Vemko Orodrov, commanding officer of the Vostroyan Firstborn 41st Armoured Regiment’s Second Tank Platoon..."

Yet another armoured regiment.

Page 718
A laspistol appeared at Sebastev's shoulder and burned the face from the ork right in front of him.

Assuming a 25 cm diameter face and 3rd degree burns we're talking a good 20-25 kj for that laspistol shot (or shots.. probably not more than a second's worth of fire.)

Page 723
Servo-skulls, yellowed with age and bristling with sensors and recording devices, descended from above, drifting through the air on suspensor engines that hummed softly. They registered every word spoken in the hall, by officials and spectators alike. The records would be carefully checked later to help identify dissenting voices and potential troublemakers.

Skull eavesdropping.

Page 725-726
“Throughout your career, you have consistently been shown to suffer from the regrettable delusion that it is your job to safeguard the lives of each and every one of the men under your command. Let me address that delusion by telling you directly, captain, that it is not so, nor has it ever been. The responsibility of any officer is both clear and singular: it is the execution of those orders given to you by your superior officers no matter the cost in blood, pain, lives or anything else you wouldn’t care to spend or endure."

“This regular prioritising of your men’s lives above all else constitutes a definitive failure on your part to live up to the duties, honours and expectations placed on you by men of vastly superior lineage, intellect and judgement.”

A sharp sound echoed through the great hall. Sebastev flicked his eyes to the source. The alabaster giant sat glaring at General Vlastan, but it was the old woman next to him who’d interrupted the general’s speech. She had struck the floor of the balcony with the metal-shod heel of her walking stick.
“it is the opinion of some members of this military council that you, Captain Grigorius Sebastev, have consistently placed the lives of individual Guardsmen above the best interests of the Twelfth Army.”

The general was interrupted again by the sharp rapping of metal on wood. Sebastev followed General Vlastan’s eyes as they again darted over to the tiny old woman.

An Inquisitor (and Astartes) either do not care for Vlasten's grandstanding, his attritionist tendencies, or possibly both. :P Given how gets interrupted twice when talking about the 'duties of a Guardsman', the attitudes of the Vostryoans to him as alluded to earlier, and the fact he's virtually been exiled as a General who only rose to power through politics and connections, it probably indicates he's not meant to be a representative sample of IG Vostroyan generals. How this impacts other generals is, of course, a matter for conjecture. Sebastav even thinks the Inquisitor enjoyed screwing with Vlasten.

I should note that Karif spoke well of Sebastev well during his trial, which went a long way towards exonerating him (along with Inquisitorial aid.) so I think we can say that Vlasten is generally thought of as an idiot by many different arms, not just his own men or his peers.

Page 729
The huge man wore a simple black tunic, cinched at the waist with golden rope.
“May I present Brother-Sergeant Ischus Corvinnus, of the Death Spectres Space Marines.”

The Death spectres are stationed out by the Ghoul Stars in the 5th edition SM codex, which reinforces approximately where this conflict is taking place and just how far Karif and the Vostroyan reinforcements are being hauled from. Also, it's interesting that Sebastev didn't automatically recognize the guy as a Space MArine. Could he be rather short for one (more towards 7 feet rather than 8?) or are Astartes sized humans common enough that Sebastev wouldn't recognize the difference immediately?

Page 731
Location: Twelfth Army Command HQ, Seddisvarr, Danik’s World, Gamma Kholdas, Kholdas Cluster, Segmentum Ultima

Again we're in Segmentum ultima.

Page 731-732
"Brammon Gusseff is a construct, nothing more. He’s a role you’ve played perfectly for the last four years, but it’s over now. Stop resisting. You’re just making this more difficult. Oh, to the warp with this. I want the witch brought in. The drugs aren’t enough.”
“Get to work on him. The last program is rooted too deep. If you can’t draw him out, he’ll have to be retired. This one is a highly prized and decorated asset, so do your best. Understood?”
"For a while there it looked like that last graft was going to be permanent.”
“My name is Lieutenant Pyter Gamalov, Vostroyan Firstborn, Office of Special Operations, Twelfth Army Division!”
"Now I need to know just how much of Gusseff’s memories you have access to."

Apparently the Patirotic officer was a deep cover spy, with an implaneted personality overlaid over the actual one (so deeply that drugs couldn't pull it out, and only an Inquisotirla Psyker could) although it required some pain and effort to do so. The 'asset' still has all the memories (which he considers horrible - he had to do horrible things in his job and it upsets him to remember it - a nice touch I thought.)

The trooper is Vostroyan, and 'special ops' - some sort of special forces or secret agent or storm trooper maybe, I don't know . But he's owrking with the Inquisition (under an Inquisitor directly) which may suggest he's an agent recruited from (and sserving the Inquisitor in) the Vostroyans for some reason. We don't konw whether the personalitly 'program' was put there by the Inquisition or Vostroyan army, but I'm betting on the former given the cirucmstances.

Page 736
If he really strained his hearing, he might make out the faint rumble of Vostroyan tanks and armoured transports rolling along the city’s broader avenues.

Again, the Vostroyan army here seems to have a fair bit of armour and mechanised units as part of its makeup. Quite possibly a significant amount, although context doesn't make that absolutely clear. Not bad for a 'poorly excuted' war.

Page 736
His grief confused and disgusted him. He’d long thought himself beyond such things. Indulging one’s emotions was the province of far lesser men.

Still, he told himself, I should have expected to feel something. Today, after all, I commemorate the death of the last man I ever called friend.

This is a short story taking place after Rebel Winter, and the story centers around a past between Vlasten and Kabanov, showing how Kabanov had saved the General. It also reflects that, despite being an attirtionist moron, he is still human, still has feelings and he is capable of mourning someone he considers a friend. I think its a testament to Steve Parker as a writer that he can write even his unlikable characters as something complex and capable of emotions like friendship even if they are complete assholes. All the 'decen't 40K writers (Abnett, McNeill, ADB, etc.) are capable of that, for example.

Page 736
Sergiev thanked the Omnissiah, tech-aspect of the God-Emperor of Man, for the warmth and protection of his hat and greatcoat.

Both utilised special fibres developed to counter the lethal chill of his home world.

More reflection on the peculiar AdMech/Ecclesiarchal bent of the Vostroyans, which is/was still an under-utilized part of the story and the force. Also, the Vostryan Greatcoats seem to be specially designed high tech shit to provide protection against extreme cold with 'special fibers'.

Page 739
He saw them now, a full platoon..
Forty men! Forty of them in their tall hats, long red greatcoats and bulky carapace armour.

Size of a Vostroyan platoon.

Page 740
“Kitko Sergiev, sir. Sergeant, 112th Magdan Lasgunners, Eighth Company, Second Platoon.”
“ Second Lieutenant Maksim Kabanov, commanding the 116th Sohlsvodd Infantry, Tenth Company, Sixth Platoon.”

A vostroyan regiment, but not 'ofifically' named Vostroyan. Seems there are variations on naming conventions :P

With 10 companies and six platoons and 40 men per platoon that's at least 2400 men. If we assume that there are 10 platoons, 10 companites, that's 4,000 men per regiment.

Page 740
Young nobles fresh from the military academies were notoriously eager for swift advancement, and usually paid for the privilege with other men’s lives. Why should this boy, this Kabanov, be any different? Was it Vostroyan zeal that lit his face, or a raging thirst for personal glory?

Vostroyan trooper view of his noble officers. Explains the 'attritionist' aspect of people like Vlasten, methinks.

Page 743
“Air support, sir?” asked Vlastan. “A bombing run, or paratroopers?”
“Neither is feasible, lieutenant, until we do something about their damned anti-air batteries. Anything we fly in gets torn apart at range."

Interesting givne that the implication is that the army is entirely Vostroyan, which means the Vostroyans have access to (through Navy assistance) or control of air support and air transports of some kind (paratroopers.)

Page 744-745
"Your father, Vlastan, was a real force among the officer class—a strong traditionalist and much missed.”
“This may sound distasteful to you, given any youthful idealism you may cling to, but you must remain objective in putting the proper value on the lives of your men. We officers are nobleborn and must bear the requisite burden of our class. We live to command, elevated to it by birthright. The troopers, however, were born to die serving the Divine Will."
..Kabanov saw Vlastan nodding in wholehearted agreement, but his own reaction was markedly different.

His father’s letters and journals betrayed Tyrkin’s lie. Major Urien Kabanov had been a humanist and squandered no man’s life, guided firmly by the core precepts of the ossbohk-vyar. Back on Vostroya, Kabanov’s mother had fondly corroborated this.

An interesting view into the military mindset of the upper echelons of the Vostryoan noble officers. There seem to be two kinds.. the 'traditionalists' - of which Vlasten's family is one, and the 'humanists' which is represented by Kabanov and his family.' The Traditonalists seem to be the Zapp Brannigan attritionalist type assholes, who view their men as little more than a means to promotion and glory (which Vlasten does consistently), whilst Kabanov is more like Sebastev in the story.

It reflects an interesting sort of dynamic that may explaint he politics in the stories - the fight between Vlasten and Kabnov over Sebastev's promotion (which was at the behest and iwth the support of the former major who must be another 'humanist'.) and quite possibly the exile of Vlasten to what is deemed an unimportant war (indeed the fact 'he would never make general' tends to hint at that.)

How this mentality reflects on the Guard as a whole is, of course, another story, but its interesting to note in any case.

Page 746
Mud-splashed suits of carapace armour protected vital organs, but some of the whining slugs bit deep into unprotected arms and thighs, ripping open the arteries there.

Carapace protecting against stubber fire of some kind. Possibly heavy stubber, or stub rifles, but its not stated either way. Vostroyan carapace seems to be very resilient to it in any case - hardly even getting chipped or dented by the impacts, it seems.

Page 746-747
Before the mutant could pull the trigger, however, Vlastan’s laspistol found him.
The mutant’s body toppled forward, trailing steam from the large, cauterised hole that had appeared in his face.

Probably a few kj easily at least. Mainly noteworthy for the thermal effects and cauzterization implied - up to and including the steam created. May indicate that any mechanical damage is due to localized steam explosions (which again points to boiling more than ctual vaping)

Page 747
”Sergeant Niriev, I want suppressing fire front-right!”

Suppression fire with lasguns again. Not a big problem given the ease of recharge and large ammo capacity and variable settings per clip.

Page 747
...Vlastan slid a new cell into the grip of his pistol..

Given the size of a handgrip the packs can’t be much bigger than a modern magazine. Say 5-6 cm long, 2-3 cm wide and ~10 cm tall - call it 100-200 cubic cm capacity, which for 1.25 kj per cc is between 125 and 250 kj for a power pack. At 20-30 shots per pack we’re talking at least 4-6 kj per shot, and up to 8-12.5 kj per shot. We know from Storm of Iron that ‘max power’ laspistol shots are 3-4 shots per pack, which is around 30-40 kj per shot at least, and 60-80 kj per shot at most.

Page 752
Even as Ivanenko said this, another of his men crumpled soundlessly, shot through the top of his hat.

This would seem to suggest Vostroyan hats aren’t armoured (or rather they aren’t helmets) which seems odd given their use of carapace. Wouldn’t yu want a helmet?

Page 755
The Chaos-crazed mutants displayed an almost suicidal eagerness to engage. They were utterly insane and, despite superior numbers, seemed unable to exploit the tenuous position of the attacking Vostroyans. It occurred to Kabanov that these freaks had never been drilled for this. Valis II had never raised Imperial Guard regiments and had maintained only a small PDF force before the coup.

This seems to suggest chaos cult tactics are utterly bizarre and foreign to the Guard. Except perhaps for glory hungry idiots like Vlasten.

Also its interesting how this attitude reflects some of the insanity and fanaticism the rebels on other worlds the Vostroyans fought on.

Page 756
..his pistol carved a smoking black crater in the body of another on the wall ahead.

Again smoke/steam, cauterization/charring and some cratering, which suggests the pistols don’t have as much penetration as the rifles do.

Page 757
Twice he staggered as enemy rounds struck his carapace armour with frightening force, but he ran on in adrenaline-fuelled desperation.

Again carapace protecting against stubber fire.

Page 758
“I double-checked, sir. The broadcast codes were spot on, verified by the Officio Communicatus and everything. It’s definitely legitimate.”

Heh, the ‘Officio Communicatus’ I swear there are an unending number of ‘Adeptus’ and ‘Officios’ in the Imperium.

Page 759
”A naval assault wing is inbound from Fortune Bay. Marauder bombers, sir. Sixteen minutes out. They’re going to level the place.”
“Sixteen minutes, you said, until those Marauders level the citadel.”

Levelling the fort and the moutnaintop.

Page 760
Vlastan stood with Sergeants Niriev and Borgoff in a small room dominated by a communications console and several low-grade cogitator units.

The citadel’s comm room.

Page 763
..they ran into tall, emaciated mutant who had looted a lasgun from the corpse of a fallen Firstborn.
..pulled the trigger and emptied the weapon’s remaining charges at them.

Kabanov’s pistol barked a moment later, burning a deep tunnel into the brain of the disgusting freak.
One of his knees had been reduced to a cauterised stump. The severed lower leg lay where it had fallen, smoke rising in wisps from charred tissue.

Unknown number of las shots (but about a second or fraction of a second’s worth of fire) cuts through Vostroyan’s or just below the knee, with extensive cauteirzation and charring.

to cut through the knee requires at least 15 cm penetration (and quite possibly overpenetration), Assuming uplifting primer rates of fire for lasweapons (~3-4 shots a second) we’re looking at ~4-5 cm diameter wounds as well (has to sever bone on top of that) ~20-30 kj per bolt could easily accomplish both requirements (large ohle in flesh, and sever bone) Assuming a 15 cm diameter leg at or around the knee and third degree burns we’re loking at 20-25 kj or so at least easily, so we’re in the right magnitude. Of course, if the shots are higher (like 10-20 rounds sec like implied in Gaunt’s ghosts) the diameter goes down (although you still need to be able to sever bone!) so we’re talking ‘only’ 1-2 cm, and you might do that with a larger number of single digit kj bolts. This of course also assumes all the bolts strike the target.

Heat ray cutting probably requires at least a few hundred kj for vaping, but ‘just’ boiling a 1-2 cm wide cut would be 50-100 kj roughly.

Again at least single, and more certainly a few tens of kj per bolt seems likely here, with lasgun outputs being considerably greater (double-triple digit kw). Calling it close to at least 100 kw for the lasweapon is quite reasonable, given the above.

Page 764
The roaring of the Marauder engines was joined by the whistling of bombs as they fell in their hundreds.

Hundreds of bombs from the MArauder wing to level the fort.

Page 766
..willed his mechanical chair into motion, his brainwaves translated into spidery movements by the augmetic interface at the base of his skull.

Spider mecha chair controlled by what are probably MIUs.

Page 767
A four-star general writes a colonel’s name in the Book of Remembrance, and fifty years of soldiering are over. I wonder if you ever resented it, that I made general and you did not. You must’ve known why. Old Tyrkin laid it out so plainly, that first day.
I never hated you, Maksim. You saved my life twice, though our friendship was long dead that second time. I sometimes think you should have let me die. That’s weak, I know. And, besides, that was never your style.
History will not be kind to you, Vogor.

Vlasten thinks his rise to his position was due to his abilities and the ‘proper’ way to lead and emplyo soldiers (EG Zapp Brannigan), which is different than what others say. And despite being a glory seeking, inept butcher... he’s still a human and is capable of those feelings enough to mourn a friend. And there is that last bit too. Really the story (and the short story following it) were simply reflections of the differences in Vostroyan leadership - one selfish, glory-oriented and gruelling. The other is more noble, more humane, and more effective.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-14 04:20pm

Next Guard novel: Desert Raiders. This one was by Lucian Soulban, whose only other vaguely 40K novel I remember was the Necromunda novel 'fleshworks' and wasn't bad. This... I didn't quite enjoy. One of the problems with 40K novels I've had is that they tend to be rather heavy handed stereotypes I feel. Like the last novel, Rebel Winter you had 'Space Russians'. Now you have 'Space Muslims' or at least thats the idea I feel like we're supposed to get. I don't know if its actually 'muslims in space' or if its just the stereotyep/caricature of 'muslims in space.' Its one of the more un-absurdly grimdark 40K novels out there, with some bright spots (great Commissar, and some interesting main characters.) and its the first novel to feature something other than Orks as an enemy (Tyranids this time.) The fighting 'Nids is almost a sideshow though, as the bulk of the novel features on the Tallarn regiment tiself, or rather an amalgamated one from two warring tribes - and the efforts of that regiment to find some sort of cooperation and unity in the face of the 'Nid threat. I think if the story had played up on the internal conflict more on the 'Space Stereotype' angle, it would have been a solid book. As it is... *shrugs* Its so so by IG novel standards.

Two part update.

Page 8-9
The psychic images slowed and then accelerated.
The echo-plasm box printed psychic visualisations that bled into one another and sent images into the vist-immateria plate. The fusillade of visions, however, came fast and hard, fusing the already grainy images into a horrid collage of blood and static.

AStropathic message reception. This one involves imagery and other sensations, and the imagery (at least) gets translated into something.

Page 9
“It’s a mortis-cry, relayed through the Torquadas Observium Array. A nasty one at that.”

“The cogitator banks cannot process most of the images,” Resalon said. “It’s interpreting them as static. We’re losing the sanctity of the vision.”

Unlike certain other novels (or authors) they use cogitators to translate the imagery. Also I'm guessing the OBservium array is some sort of relay outpost/listening station - this one is certainly implied to be anyhow.

Page 9
The restraints cut into the psyker’s flesh, but they were necessary so the astropath didn’t pull free the filaments plugged into his spine and helmet. Blood dribbled in fat droplets from under the astropath’s black sens-dep helmet....
He briefly wondered if the sens-dep helmets weren’t just designed to tune the world out, but to shield others from the horrors perceived by the psykers.
Resalon opened the echo-plasm’s control panel and drew out the red filament and tube bundle pinched with yellow parchment. He plugged the leads into the adjoining sockets and suddenly, four astropaths in their cradles seized and bucked against the mortis-cry.

More about Astropathic receptions/translation (and the shit job they're subjected to) and the tech part of that job.

Also at least four Astorpaths in this listening station.

Page 10
The lower half of his body had been surgically amputated years ago, the metallic sacrum of his reinforced spine the platform’s socket that linked thought to the surrounding techno-artefacts. Slow-moving plates orbited him, each of them pulling streams of rune-code from the etherium.

EArly version of noospherics perhaps? floating platforms? I think this guy is a Mechanicus dude.

Page 10
..but he handed the flims-pic to Nuvosa. It was part image, part x-ray. “It’s the only thing the cogitators could translate,”

More on the translation

Page 10
“A desert world in the Barrases System… Khadar. It’s in the underbelly of the galactic plane of the Ultima Segmentum. The transmission was an Imperium distress cry. The cogitators couldn’t identify the astropath that sent it.”

Nuvosa’s eyelids fluttered briefly as he accessed the Administratum’s data-scrolls.

The million-plus planet names were transmitted to the cerebra-ocular implant keyed into his occipital lobe. The names appeared only to Nuvosa, as scrolling ghostly runes. The search distilled it down to a thousand, a hundred, a dozen worlds, and finally to one. After a moment, his eyes shot up and he captured Resalon in his gaze.

Location of the astropath signal (important later, for more than one reason) and setting of the story. Also the Tech dude processes through names of a million (or more) systems known to the Imperium in a matter of seconds, winnowing it down to a single name.

Page 11-12
The fleet of small ships drifted in the pitch of stars and held formation on approach to the system’s outer planet — a frozen ball of nitrogen and methane. Ribbons and spittle-threads floated around them, grey immaterium plasma ejected during the fleet’s explosive birth at retranslation from Empyrean space.

Cruisers with gun-barrel bodies, frigates with flying ribbed buttresses, destroyers, transports and squadrons of patrolling Fury interceptors all orbited the heart of the fleet — the Defiant-class cruiser Oberron’s Flight with its carbon scorched prow and eagle figurehead.
“This is the officer of the watch. We’re entering the Barrases System. We’ll anchor in three hours. Prepare for planet-fall.”

A small imperial task force to transport what amounts to two companies of tallarn and their supplies. A light cruiser, some frigates, transports, destroyers... that seems alot of effort for so few troops.

Also it takes 3 hours easily to ge tin system from the warp translation point.
Far less than a day passes because its day one when they begin landing.

Assuming they cross just 1 AU, that's 8-9 gees and 1.1% of c. Hell even assuming 1/5 or 1/6th of an AU fior some bizarre reason we're still talking nearly 1 c and 600 km/s, but we really have no reason to assume so low either on distance or time. At around 10-11 AU, we're talking 90 gees and 12-13% of lightspeed max velocity.

Assuming 3 hours we're talking 85-105 gees and 1.4-1.9% of c for 1/5 to 1/6 an AU. 9% of c and 525 gees at 1 AU. And well in excess of 5-6 thousand gees and .75c if we go with 10-11 AU.

Page 13
“It says here that your tribe serves the Tallarn regiments as support staff. Why is that?”
“We are respected by the others for our great learning. We arbitrate disputes. We mediate. We are trusted because we allow two sides to reach a truce without either losing face.”

The different battle-cants were only a symptom of a larger problem facing the newly formed regiment. The Tallarn were a “passionate people” according to one scroll in the Stratum Populace dossier prepared for him by the Administratum....

Tallarn regiments - ones like these at least - seem to need their own mediators. Cuz they're fractious and shit, y'see. And diverse/divided. and shit.

Also another Imperial organization - 'Stratum populace'

Page 14
“Five weeks ago,” Rezail said, “astropaths received a psyker distress cry… Imperial. It originated from the uninhabited desert world of Khadar.”

Implying it took no longer than 5 weeks to assemble and transport the force to this location. Whilst we don't know where they start from precisely, strong hints throughout the book suggest they served in or near Tallarn . Certainly the fact that the ships transporting them have a Tallarn captain (and chapel), and that two Tallarn regiments were combined in this manner is... interesting. Although on the other hand Tallarn is in Segmentum Tempestus, and depending on where Khadar is we could be talking thousands or tens of thousands of light years of travel, and using so many ships to haul so few trips so far? Seems a bit silly.

Still thousands or tens of thousands of light years in 5 weeks is anywhere from tens of thousands of c to over half a million c (600,000c to be precise) assuming a straight line halfway across the galaxy to the edges of the segmentum.)

Page 14
Every centimetre of Nisri’s two metres disgusted him...

Yet another 2 metre tall Imperial character. :P There's at least one in every novel.

Page 15
..Battalion Commander Turk Iban Salid.

2 companies equal a battalion in a regiment. So the Tallarn at least seem to use battalions and companies as organizational elements of a regiment. I should note that the original regiments were the 82nd and the 351st, but their new name is the 892nd, so the naming convention seems not to be following any obvious patten.

Page 18
The Trumpet of the Golden Throne was a Sword-class frigate and one of the few ships in the fleet with a Tallarn captain. As such, the good Captain Abrahim had converted part of the ship’s cathedrum into a sacrarius where the Tallarn could observe worship of the Emperor in their own fashion.

Two freshly combined (but depleted) tallarn regiments (rather companies) combined into a new regiment, being transportedi n a fleet with a Tallarn ship? They had to have been within the same sector of Tallarn for that to happen, more than likely. too much to be coincidence.

Page 18
He was deeply tanned, but his blond hair and purple eyes betrayed his Cadian heritage, a rare gene-stock on Tallarn.

Some Tallarn have Cadian stock in them. I wonder if this is commonplace? It seems unreasonable, the Dramatis Personae at the back of the book explains that some Cadians settled on Tallarn after the Iron Warriors tried assaulting it. (or at least that's the explanation given.) It might help explain how/why Cadians (or other prestige regiments) might be so widespread, be able to recruit (like the Valhallans in the Cain novels) and you can have so many Cadians across the galaxy while their planetary population is supposedly is not even a billion.

I'd also anticipate similar shit happens due to garrisons, colonizing/conquest armies (when retiring regiments settle down, for example) and the like.

Page 22
Rectangular bolted containers lining the ship’s underbelly suddenly dropped, shaking the earth. The landing craft tore off into the dusky sky again.

Transport from a naval ship unloading cargo containers (or rather dropping them to the ground)

Page 22
“Fine! If you can find me a river on this world, then I’ll apologise. Until then, you tell me why we need two hundred rafts on a desert planet!”

Its an IG novel, so things have to be fucking up somehow. My question is why was the fleet hauling them to this world carrying rafts to begin with. They knew it was a desert planet from the get-go.

Page 22
They wrapped their weapons in swaddling cloth and protected their faces in kafiyas and blast-oculars.

Fancy word for goggles, I bet.

Page 23
The chatter inside the command Chimera was loud, partly to be heard over the thunderous din, but mostly, just to be heard. The Chimera was cramped compared to the more open HQ Salamanders, used for this exact purpose, and it was a speck’s shadow in relation to the mammoth command Leviathans used during major offensives. For the Tallarn regiment, it was the best they could muster, especially since the open-topped Salamanders proved less than useful in desert campaigns.

Along the Chimera’s back wall sat a bank of auspex devices, rune-plates, a vox-transmitter, a small holocaster, and two operators.

Command chimera, one of the regiment/company's HQ vehicles and its equipment, which is useful. also mention of Leviathans for bigger cases. I guess even the Tallarn use them, as its implied this is the 'best' they can manage at tis time.

Page 23
They motioned to an iron-framed brass plate mounted on the wall. The brass plate was acid-etched with the soft contours of local cartography.

No paper maps, I guess.

Page 24
“We will build an outpost with defensible walls and turrets.”
“An outpost?” Turk asked. “Our strength lies in our mobility. You’re talking about penning us in a cage.”

“I’m talking about protecting us,” Nisri said. “Some enemies you cannot outrun. They are a flood that will overtake you. Your best hope is to let their tide break around the rocks of your shores.”


Trench warfare! Actually it implies that mobile warfare against the 'Nids is a losing proposition - at least the IG style is. given their means of deployment from orbit and approach to warfare that would not be surprising.

Page 24
“by placing us on a landmark, you make it easier for rangefinders to target us with artillery.”

“What artillery?” Nisri said, shaking his head. He tapped one of the auspex operators on the shoulder. “Have the fleet’s cogitators found any sign of life yet? An army? Machines? Anything?”

The operator shook his head. “Auspex are clean so far.”

Arty rangefinders and use of orbital sensors to scan the planet.

Page 26
“Yes, commissar. Duf adar Sarish tends to our riding animals and teaches us how to shoot at full gallop. He is an accomplished marksman.”

Rezail nodded. “Excellent, but there is one thing I find confusing. Tallarn was viral bombed, yes? Sulphuric and rust deserts from the decomposing corpses of a million tanks.”
“You are wondering why our people need pack animals? Tallarn is a wasteland, but our sheltered undergrounds are a vast network of tunnels as great as any hive-world. We also have a sister planet, two systems away, Ibanna Tallarn. The princes of the various tribes grow and train their herds there.”

The Tallarn reason for animals, at least the stated reason. Also mention of the battle that reduced the planet to a wasteland, and reference to a second planet settled by Tallarn. Again, like the Cadian settlement of the planet, this is.. interesting. Does this refer to something like a new planet settled by Tallarn regiments, or is it something else? Have other planets/regiments done this? Again this migth be useful for Cadian numbers (for example.)

Also just before this they were introduced to Droma

Page 27
She wore loose robes, and a psychic hood made from bulwark plates, haemorrhage valves, a focusing visor and sheathed cable bundles rested next to her, to help focus her powers as the unit’s sanctioned mind witch.

The Tallarn have a sanctioned psyker. She may be a Astropath, or something more, or the author may have just confused things, as she tends to act both as astropath and as more of a battle psyker. Of course nothing says Psykers must conform absolutely to all standards, but she must be damn powerful to still have her eyes. also the enhancing/psychic protection gear of a psyker.

Page 27
“You are blessed, an instrument of the Emperor.”
“The Orakle is the Emperor’s voice. We do not worship him. He is an astropath and he guides us: a saint keeping us on the Emperor’s road.”

Some Tallarn revere Astropaths as sort of prohpet-like figures of the Emperor. It is noted that others view them as corrupt witches for consorting with the Warp, so there is a bit of conflict in the ranks. As if the Tallarn in this book needed more of that.

Page 28
The Guardsmen didn’t have time to erect storm walls or to dig trenches; instead, they lashed down the supply containers using gas-powered nail-pumps to secure the cargo netting before running for cover. The dozen or so vehicles were already parked at the foot of the plateau, facing away from the storm, and several platoons lay sheltered behind their treads.

Nail guns or pumps, powered by gas to cover the supply containers. Also the company has a 'dozen or so' vehicles, although the exact composition is unknown. We know they have at least one Chimera, a Basilisk, and Hellhounds are also mentioned. we konw they also have some supply vehicles and Sentinels, but if these are included we don't know.

Page 29
He stumbled towards the command Chimera, which had already extended its snort mast high into the dusty air. If the storm buried the vehicle under a lake of sand, the collapsible snorkel tube would be the only thing saving the crew from certain suffocation, and it would indicate to other Guardsmen where to dig.

Probably useful for amphibious roles as well if the Chimera gets drowned.

Page 29
Anleel spotted a raised snort mast in the near distance. All Tallarn regiment containers were equipped with such devices, and functioned as emergency shelters.

Probably a good idea for emergency shelters - and its not like the containers would be useful for anything else. The snorkels probably serve the same reason the one on the Chimera does.

Also implies that equipment containers are customized to particular regiments, at least for high end ones like Tallarn.

Page 29
A black, carbonised flash mark from a laspistol marked the demise of the door’s missing padlock: not the quartermaster’s standard key, but Anleel was grateful for someone else’s initiative.

Laspistol blasts off Military padlock. Whether it blasted te lock apart or just severed parts of it we can't say, nor the exact damage mechanism, but it is interesting.

an idea for a military padlock is here.

Assuming a more efficient' blaster' style laser and to blow through just the locking part. If we're looking for just a 1 cm diameter, 2 cm 'deep' (two 1 cm wide parts) you could do it with 3 kj broken up into 6 500-joule pulses. Call it 2-3 kj for stainless steal (2 mm spot size though, and 10 microsecond delay between pulses.) Probably overpenetrates given the scorch on the container, at least a little. 2 cm diameter, 4 cm wide holes we're looking at between 20-25 kj or so (6 4 kj pulses.) Assuming a 2 cm thick, 5 cm diameter hole blasting the lock apart (more or less) you're looking at a good 40-50 kj for a single pulse.

Probably better to call it single to double digit kj either way there.

Melting through would be easily 19-75 kj for just melting through the round bits at the top (assuming they were exposed, and a 1-2 cm diameter sphere or cylinder was melted). Vaporization would be 6x more energetic. Melting across the lock (say 5 cm by 2cm x2 cm would easily be 189 kj or so.

I'd assume some 'hybrid' approach (some thermal and some kinetic damage) would fall somewhere in between those, and probably meaning its somewhere in the double digit kj range.

Page 30
.He barely had time to turn before a second laspistol beam caught him on the shoulder and cooked the wound. Anleel tried to scream, but his kafiya slipped off his chin, and sand rushed in to choke him. Two more shots punched him in the chest, both white hot, both cooking and cauterising flesh, muscle and bone.

Laspistol. Injures shoulder and chest, seems to be mostly thermal with little to no kinetic effect here. assuming a 2 cm diameter wound, around 10-15 cm deep. you might require single digit kj to blast out blaster style. Burns might be signle or double digit kj depending on severeity at that diameter (flash burns would be 4.7 kj for 3rd degree 50 j per sq cm burns at 15 cm deep, at least.) thermal damage (say boiling flesh) of that similar volume - call it 40-50 grams of tissue - 10-15 kj per shot. Again single, or double - digit kj seems likely.

Page 31
He’d heard something about the properties of the desert, how the sandstorm generated an electric charge. He didn’t understand mechanical crafts, specifically why they affected his compass or the voxes, or even friction, but he was told they did.

Comment on educational level of these Tallarn. It's later mentioned they don't seem ot have much literacy, so its possible they just don't waste much time on education on that planet. At least of the scholarly type (although there are scholars as we noted before.) That said he could figure out something aritfical might be drawing the lightning, so he's not exactly stupid either.

Page 32
..they arrived at a full-track lorry that was buried up to its lower road wheels in sand. A faint bluish light flickered and jumped at the treads, sprockets and rollers..
“You’re lucky I saw you,” he said tapping the night vision periscope attached to the ceiling before unwrapping his kafiya.

Another Tallarn vehicle. Has NV gear. Part of armoured support.

Page 33
“Captain Qal Abantu, Armoured Support.”

Toria grinned. “We have armoured support?”

YEs, they do.

Page 35
“About seven hours ago,” one replied, “probably more.”
“Transmission source confirmed to be a satellite relay,” the other responded.
“That puts them outside the system,” Raham said.
“They’ve already left,” Nisri said, falling back into his seat.

7+ hours means the ship is already gone, roughly confirming my earlier accel estimates. Also they have a satellite for relaying messages 'in orbit'. Wonder if it can do other things?

Also 2 month to resupply. More bad news.

Page 36
The rosy hued plateau rose a dozen metres from the dunes on its east side, while on the west, a large dune had pressed against it, forming a ramp for treaded vehicles to traverse.

The plateau’s roof was a hundred metres in diameter, and the highest one the Guardsmen could reach among the many scattered throughout the region.

Site of the Battalion garison

Page 37
The remaining vehicles were clustered around the command Chimera in the shadow of the plateau. Colonel Nisri Dakar sat with his men upon a mottled tan Hellhound, while Lieutenant-Colonel Turk Iban Salid stood with his at the treads of a tan Chimera.

At least one Hellhound and two Chimeras.

Page 37
“We were sent supplies we didn’t need,” Kortan replied, “inflatable rafts, carbon-filtered rebreathers, five full pallets of green vehicle paint….."

Again, why was a bunch of this shit carried if they didnt need it? Esp the paint and rafts.

Page 39
“Plasm-tins,” Kortan replied, “to cook the food, we have enough for twenty days.”


Page 39
“Perhaps we can siphon vehicle fuel?”
"we were only sent half of what we needed. The storm robbed us of the other half, and we’re low on power cells for the vehicles.”

“We can tether the command vehicle to the solar generators.”

The vehicles require electrical power as well as fuel. Does this mean its a hybrid design or is the power needed for other systems (like the auspex, and shit?) it seems odd that the vehicles need both fuel and powre cells to run, since you'd think the engines would be able to generate electricity and charge batteries and shit. No diesel generators (or the 40K analogue) either?

Also it seems that the power cells for the vehicles arne't rechargable, which seems odd as well. Does this mean other powercells (like for lasweapons) aren't either? They do hint at ammunition shortages as well, althoguh whether that is for projectile weapons or energy weapons or both we don't know.

At least they have solar generators for running some of their equipment (like the Chimera's systmes) on, which is useful.

Page 39
"Regular patrols will use any dromads and mukaali that Duf adar Sarish can spare."

Tallarn 'rough rider' animals again. Probably goes to show why they bother keeping shit like that around at all, since in emergencies like this they can be useful. Dromads again are the Space Camels.

Page 39-40
He watched as his men struggled to pull open the collapsible wire-frame cubes. The articulated mesh expanded to form interlinking baskets ten metres long. These would form the battlements atop the plateau. Once they’d riveted them into the hard rock, the companies would fill the layered rows of baskets with sand, creating walls that could absorb heavy bolter fire and shelling.


Page 41
Stacks of data-slates and print-sheets covered the surface in neat, ordered piles.

Data slates and printouts for informational purposes. If they have paper, why did they need a brass plate map?

Page 41
...the thought of firing round after round into the advancing wall of screeching, chittering xenos...
They leapt into lines of dismembering fire, protecting those behind them like living shields of carapace armour.

Comment on Tyranid tactics and probable resilience, against 'dismembering' fire which presumably includes lasguns (EG blowing off 'nid limbs') which suggests either explosive or sliceing/cutting damage (single or oduble digit kj at least) Tyranids are supremely optimized for attrition-style warfare, since in the end even their own troops are raw material to be consumed at the end.

Page 41
"..we have a ghost of a regiment with two meagre companies that are at each other’s throats.."

Size of the 'regiment'

Page 42
“Some of my men found Major Anleel’s body. He was murdered. It looks like las-burns to the chest and shoulder.”

Again hint of lasweapon damage mechanisms in this book.

Page 43-44
Nisri snatched the data-slate from the quartermaster’s hands and studied the information. It was a topographical scan of the region with three triangular glyphs marked at the extremes of the map.
“The location of three emergency orbit-drop containers.."
“It appears so. The storm jammed their torch beacons until half an hour ago."

The drop containers also have beacons, which can relay their signals to data slates to mark locations on maps- useful for mapping functions when your troops have ident tags or beacons. Also apparently provides information on what the supplies carry, as they are able to identify the stores without having seen the containers firsthand.

Page 44
“No fuel?”

“Too volatile for an orbit drop.”

You can't orbitally drop vehicle fuel.

Page 47
The command centre and the barracks were nothing but sandbag walls, and were still being built. Tents with peaked roofs, box frames, and black cloth, designed to absorb the heat, littered the interior compound. A grid of solar panels plastered along the walls of one tent glistened under the stars, quietly awaiting morning.
The camp’s modular, sand-filled walls were completed. They measured seven metres high, with an interior ledge for the gun emplacements, and barbed wire topping the battlements. At the base of the wall rested funk holes, alcoves to protect troops during shelling.

More of the camp. The solar cells can't be muhc larger than 100x100meters if that, which gives an idea on power usage.

Page 50
“But a psyker brokered the truce,”

“Yes. In his honour, the tribes created an Orakle of the Emperor, a supreme scholar who would speak the Emperor’s wisdom. Throughout the galaxy, he would merely be an astropath, but among my people, the greatest of the astropaths becomes the Orakle, a mouthpiece for the Emperor’s guidance through the holiest of bonds, the Soul Binding.”
“Believe? No, but we respect his elected position. He is a man, no more, no less.”

“But some Tallarn venerate him, don’t they?”

“The same way you venerate your Living Saints. The Orakle is a conduit of the Emperor’s will, no more, no less.”

More on Tallarn religious beliefs.

Page 51-52
“You suggested the Commissariat mediate the matter?” Rezail said. He was surprised. Most people feared the Commissariat and its rulings, for the fate of worlds often hung in their decisions.
"The only thing the two tribes respected was the sovereignty of the Aba Aba Mushira. The Commissariat served the Emperor as men of war, not men of religion.”
"You thought that if the Commissariat ruled, then both sides would be forced to submit to the ruling.”

Did the Commissariat come into the picture because the Tallarn is a major recruiting world for the Imperium? Seeing them as arbiters of disputes is a bit odd, but possibly within their purview of military matters (at last in maintaining discipline and morale.) We know they have little to know influence (directly) over civilian matters though.

Anyhow, the Commisars execute a bunch fo people and issue a decree that the fighting is to ceaes. It ceases publicly but goes behind the scenes.

Page 52
"Both Banna and Turenag so believed they were right that they were willing to risk Exterminatus."

really? Could the Commissars order an Exterminatus on the planet just because they fought? Maybe it was one of those 'mild' exterminatus that only left the planet depopulated of human life, and uninhabiatalbe for only relatively long periods of time, rather than totally demolishing it and removing any habitability and/or value it has and destorying even the microscopic life. Although given how Tallarn was virus bombed it would have to be bombing the underground cities...

We learn a page later that the Turenag hate psykers because of their beliefs. They believe it is heretical to have the emperor in image, sculpture, description (words) is idolatry and confines him (denial of his omnicsient, everpresent nature and that he has limits.) He does of course, but you can't tell fanatics that. Acknowledging psykers would also be heretical because those powers imply a relationship with big E and also quantify him. Which again is true. It also means the Turenag are more fanatical than the Sisters of Battle and the Black Templars combined, because they at least allow some level of 'sanctioned' psyker to exist (albeit grudgingly.)

Page 54
“The Inquisition’s Black Ships found me first. I returned to my tribe when they drew up the regiment. I was battle-trained by then and more than capable of defending myself.”

Which regiment? And she is apparnetly a battle psyker. Again rather coincidental that she just happened to get taken away to Terra then returned to serve in a Tallarn regiment.

Page 58
Nisri and Turk drew their weapons simultaneously. Men kicked over chairs as they reached for scimitars and guns.
Bolters and laspistols were pointing in both directions.

The Tallarn have.. scimitars. And bolters, which perhaps isn't so bad.

Page 58
His voice was a snarl, perfectly controlled and modulated, as per the Schola Progenium lessons on speech-craft and intimidation.

Commissar training.

Page 59
"Make no mistake, gentlemen, we commissars have executed generals before now for dereliction of duty and gross incompetence. Rest assured, neither of you would be the first regimental officers that I’ve shot.”

Our commissar, who is from Cadia, seems to be of the old school 'shoot the officers for trouble int he ranks' rather than shooting guardsmen to inspire fear. although that is also in his remit as we learn later. He isn't as nice as Karif from Rebel Winter, but he has that asme sort of patience for stupidity and fuckery and that willingness to listen and learn and understand (psychology) that Karif had./ Which means he's one of the better Commissars.

Page 61
..the self-propelled Basilisk artillery piece, a massive gun fitted to the frame of a Chimera. Four recoil braces extended from the coiners of the Basilisk, each anchored to the plateau rock with heavy pins...

The regiment's single artillery piece. Anchored down, which suggests its recoil is considerable. Based on the IA stats alone (38 kg shell at 812 m/s) and allowing for propellant to push that up some 30-50%, we're talking about 1000-1150 kg*m/s per ton recoil wise. The rule of thumb (Ogorkiewicz ratio IIRC) is around 900 kg*m/s per ton, but some tanks like the M551 Sheridan went as high as 1050 kg*m/s per ton and some of the hypothetical lightweight 'future tank' designs were higher, but the Sheridan was reputed to be a bitch recoil wise and the future designs needed some fancy recoil compensation to cope.

Page 64
...he heard the whine hiss of laspistol fire followed by bolter fire.

Bolters again

Page 65
“I am the Emperor’s dark angel!” Rezail shouted, his voice carrying above the noise, as he executed one soldier after the other. Those Guardsman who heard and stopped were spared.

“I dispense the will of the High Lords of Terra. I am the keeper of the regiment’s fire, and I alone can spill the regiment’s blood. Those of you who murder your fellow soldiers are no better than dogs! And I excel at executing dogs.”

Probably one of the few instances in the fluff where I approved of an Execution. The Commissar has warned, debated, and even reasoned with these nutjobs, tried to get them to put duty above vendetta, but they're killing one another son he has to give a more brutal reminder. And even then he's only executing those who ignore him, which still puts him in the 'Good Commissar' category.

Page 66
Suddenly, the hissing whine of a las-bolt rang out. The tribesman with the laspistol fell to the floor, his face blackened. The remaining men turned to run. Another shot caught one in the back of his head, cratering the skull and punching through the other side. The acrid scent of burnt hair and meat filled the air.
..Captain Anuman pointing a laspistol at the fleeing men.

Lasbolts from a pistol to the head. A bit hard to calc since while cratering it isn't quite headsplosion. Mechanical damage wise putting big holes in the head can be done with single digit kj (and overpenetrate via pulse train) but cratering in the process (or blackening) suggests fairly extensive thermal damage too, which could definitely up that to double digit kj (400 j per sq cm, 4th degree flash burn territory and skin flaying over 10-15x10-15 cm of skull would be around 40-80 kj easily at that scale, for example.)

Pretty damn powerful and penetrating either way.

Page 66

Half of Anuman’s face vanished under the flash of a las-bolt, and Nubis stumbled back, his front painted in blood and viscera.

The Commisar's laspistol. Implied headsplosion, but its not quite definite. single digit kj if it was, easily.

Page 71
Bio-phos paint and lumetubes illuminated the main tunnel, consigning the remainder to darkness.

Interesting sort of illumination tech for the Guard.

Page 74-75
“Runner Two, what’s on auspex?” Major Hussari called into his micro-bead.

“Runner One, the jungle’s thick, but we’re coming up on a shallow stream forty metres ahead.
After the stream, there’s a wall with what appears to be a large cavern opening.
"Warn the other squads to watch their step. Auspex doesn’t pick up crevices until it’s too late.”

Tallarn Sentinel pilots all have micro beads. As we learn all the remaining troops seem to, and what's more we know its more than just this regiment because they're combined from two depleted old regiments.

Also Auspex on the Sentinels, which seems to be active sensing, given its abilitiy to identify features or pick up pitfalls (line of sight could hide such.) I wouldn't rule out passive detection though.

Page 77
"...service in the Imperial Guard is a lifetime commitment,” Rezail said, cautiously.

“I know that, of course, but the High Lords of Terra have rewarded a home world with sister
planets before."
“That only happens under extraordinary circumstances: extended campaigns, meritorious service so far above the call of duty that the war is entered as a Holy Action in all Remembrancer accounts, and in the official history of the Imperium.”
“and the only times the High Lords have done this is in recognition of the efforts of the Adeptus Astartes, never for a regiment.”

“Almost never,” Nisri said.
“The fact is, colonising a world is such a monumental undertaking that it’s hardly done."

This is an.. interesting passage for many reasons, mainyl because it implies colonization as a rule is so rare (which is odd, given all the colonization efforts we hear of - how else does the Imperium gain new planets?) but there's also all the Crusades and Conquests (Macharian Crusade, Sabbat Worlds, Jericho Reach...) More specific to the Guard, it isn't always lifetime as prior novels (Fifteen Hours, REbel Winter) have alluded, and colonization by retired or mustered out Guardsmen is not exactly unheard of despite what this hints at. And what about all those Rogue traders? What are they exactly doing?

I also find it odd that only 'Astartes' warrant colonies in exceptional cases - it not only implies that multi-system Astartes empires might exist other than Ultramar (but possibly rare - unless this is the same thing as the direct governance/protectorate stuff alluded to in other sources since 5th came out) but that somehow the Astartes are directly part of the Imperium rather than merely allied like the AdMech. That's not the only interpretation, but I get the strong feeling that is the case given the context. And then there's the idea that the High Lord's are required to approve all colonizations (despite direct rule being impossible over every planet due to the distances involved and the nature of astrotelepathy and warp travel.)

One possibility is that this simply reflects, yet again, the fragmented and seemingly inconsistent nature of the 40K galaxy. Maybe 'official' colonizations (with the approval fo the High Lords) is nearly unheard of, but it happens all the time at the sector/subsector/local levels - it could happen in some places and the High Lords may not hear about it or even aware of it unless brought to their attention. Or the Administratum may have the information and it simply didn't pay attention (or forgot about it, or simply didnt realize what it meant.) at any scale beyond the most local. Such has happened before and would fit in 'thematically' with the nature of the Imperium. Hell this could go a logn way to explain the million/millions/billions discrepancies - we know that the Imperium is supposed to not even know its true scope accuratley (or at least, not everyone does.)

In this case, the Tallarn (and their commissar) simply wouldn't know better, the region of space they've seen/served in may simply not colonize that often.

Also a second reference to 'sister worlds' related to a single world, like the Tallarn. Which woudl seemingly be a contradiction to the earlier statemetns regarding how rare/difficult Colonization is.

Page 78
“A chance to end the violence? How bad is the fighting on your worlds?”

“We skirt civil war constantly. The Banna and Turenag cannot battle openly without risking the
wrath of the Adeptus Arbites..."

Again mention of Tallarn having multipl worlds they've settled. Also, the Arbites seem to also help enforce certain rulings, although the politics of such would be interesting (doesn't this encroach on the sovereignty of the Muniotrum/Commissariat/Guard as a whole?)

Page 78
If the High Lords of Terra agree,” Rezail said, shaking his head, “which I highly doubt, the undertaking would be massive: the ships, the logistics, the formation of a planetary governance, the inclusion of the Adeptus Arbites to ensure the colony is being built according to Imperial Law, a military presence to protect the planet, the redrawing of naval patrol routes to include Khadar… even to call it mammoth is to treat the matter casually.”

The implied difficulties of colonization. My earlier statements apply still.

Page 80
"The fact is, you are making a request for consideration under the articles put forth by the Master of the Administratum, the ancient right of an Imperial Guard regiment to claim an uninhabited or conquered planet for colonisation by their homeworld, is that correct?”

Well reference is made at least to the 'colonization' effort, so it does exist (at least as far as the book believes), its just from the character's POV, it has hardly ever happened.

Page 83
Both Sergeant Ballasra and Captain Toria were on extended patrol, venturing so far underground that they couldn’t be reached by voxes and micro-beads.

Tallarn scouts with Micro-beads.

Page 86
They battered her, and she stumbled. She pulled the psyker hood over her head, drowning out the fear.

Uses for psychic hoods on psykers - keeps out as well as shutting in.

Page 88
The Sentinels slowed their gait and stopped at the vehicle stable where Captain Abantu and Armoured Support were getting the vehicles fuelled and ready.

Armour support (vehicles) seems to have its own support staff for maintaining them organic to the regiment as well, although it may not be the full group normally assigned by the Munitorum. Or maybe it was a special detachment assigned for this purpose.

Page 88
“Auspex,” Turk called out, “anything yet?”

“Negative,” the operator called out. “We picked up a slight impact tremor, but nothing even close to a meteor or orbit strike. “Whatever it was, it made a controlled landing.”

Implies an orbitla strike and a meteor impact could be of similar magnitude. This was less powerful.

Page 89-90

“I want you to take your squadrons on reconnaissance. Find out what landed.”

“How many, sir? I have twenty at full strength and one at half-strength.”

At least 21 squadrons of Tallarn sentinels. consistently with at least 3, perhaps four or more apiece, thats a good 60-80 Sentinels potentially, although whther they belong to one Regiment or the other we don't know

Page 90
“How long to get there?”

“I’ll have to check the terrain, but I’d say a few hours. Whatever landed did so two hundred kilometres away, I’d estimate.”

Implied range of ~400 or so kilometres (at least) for a Sentinel, and an average stridking speed of around 50-100 km/hr, depending on how many hours you figure 'a few hours' is. 70 km/hr or so on average, although 4 hours is closer to the IA benchmark for Sentinels (45 kph IIRC).

Page 90
"I want scout snipers five kilometres out, and I want regular vox contact."

Is this micro bead or regular vox? We know some micro beads can go out to that range but.. hard to say. also scouts double as snipers.

Page 91
The wash of heat watered their eyes and prevented them from properly identifying the rock, although there seemed to be strange patterns etched into its surface. Even through the oculars, heat shimmers and vapour clouds masked its design, but it was huge, the size of a battle cruiser and easily a factorum tower in height.

The area was still heated from its entry into the atmosphere. The nearby dunes appeared as though melted away.

The landed Tyranid ship is stated to be as big as a 'battle cruisr' or 'factorum tower' - hundreds of meteres, more probably kilometres in length/diameter easily, esp given FFG sizes. Also significant melting of the surrounding sand because of the impact

Also rather curious, but the Tallarn oculars seem to have some sort of vision-related benefit at least when it comes to thermal and vapour. Does this mean they might be some sort of preysense goggle?

Page 92-93
They continued closer into the furnacelike heat of the landing zone and into the periphery of the storm. The dunes were smaller, their tops melted down along their slopes Melted silicate collected in large pools and streams. The scouting team couldn’t approach any closer; the ground was melted and the heat suffocating.
They clambered up the partially melted dune, its shallow side apparently free of molten glass.
The glass hadn’t slipped down the opposite slope… it had collected into a small caldera atop the collapsed dune.

The shifting sand broke the lip of the crater and a deluge of melted glass broke free.
The landscape around the ship had been flattened for a kilometre. Through the haze, it looked like a giant snail shell, organic and glossy, sitting in a huge crater lake of obsidian glass. Tiny dune islands slowly melted into the crater’s great cooking pot, while vent spumes along the ship’s spiral spine jettisoned streams of fetid-smelling gas, cooling and hardening the lake.

Further detail on the impact. The area around the ship had been flattened out to a km (radius), including the volume the ship itself occupied, which sets a lower limit of many kilometers (2-3 km at least) in diameter, with much of the interior crater in a molten state.

Using This calculator and assuming a 500 meter diameter object at 1 km/s, the crater diameter is around 2.71 km (final crater size) and around ~24 megatons of KE. Melting sand in the crater about a foot deep should be worth a few megatons easily, so we're within the same magnitude. BEar in mind that this is also a lower limit on an orbital strike, although of an unknown type. Hardly shocking, given we know of many 'megaton' range orbital strikes in other cases (Battle for Macragge against Tyranids, for example.)

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-14 04:21pm

Part 2

Page 96
..auspex and vox compiled crucial data.

Which automatically makes these Tallarn smarter than a greater percentage of IA IG forces ever deployed

Page 96-97
"..but orks are predictable.”

“Tyranids aren’t?”
“Not in any way that can help us,” Nisri responded with a sigh. “They don’t respond to our tactics. Worse, they learn from them. We can trap them in a pincer manoeuvre, and still they’d break through. We can box them in a canyon, and they’d scale their own dead to reach us.”
“They are like orks in that they’re scavengers. Nothing is wasted on the battlefield, and blood only fuels their thirst. Orks may strip and rebuild equipment, but the tyranids let nothing organic go to waste. Smaller creatures wait behind the front line and digest the dead, theirs and ours. They return to their flesh factorums and rebuild their forces anew from the raw materials.”

Comment on Ork vs Tyranid tactics, with emphasis on the latter. The chief problem lies in their emphasis on biowank - they can literally harvest their own corpses and their enemies and turn that into new troops to use. While not limitless (thermodynamics and all) this does make wearing them down immeasurably harder. Ork scrpatech and the WAAAGH effect confers similar (albeit lesser) advantages.

Page 98
“The fleet admiral thought our position was lost. So, they scoured the surface from space, and when they finally ran out of munitions to throw at us, they used the fleet’s hooked chains, the ones they use to disembowel ships, to drop orbital debris on us.”
“All I know is that the rain of fire and molten steel did little to stop the tyranids. They went underground, and we held our position for weeks against attack."

Orbital bombardment seeming not to deter said splinter fleet.

Page 99
What can you expect of any storm? You can expect a portion of it to sweep over you while the remainder continues on its path, somehow undiminished. You cannot run and engage them in moving battles, you will only die tired. They are relentless.”

“There goes our advantage,” Turk said.

“Unfortunately. The best we can hope for is to bunker down and weather their onslaught.”


The notable thing about Tyranids is that the Tallarn feel that maneuvering is pretty futile. I wouldn't say this is an absolute, but it does highlight some of the problems fighting 'Nids. They attack from orbit, often in drop-pod style assault. That gives them tremendous mobilify and flexibility. They can move quite fast when they want to (able to keep up with Sentinels in this story, and moving upwards of 60 kph in Warriors of Ultramar.) and they are relentless.

Page 99
“Once the tyranids start moving, they will not stop. They’ll be on top of us within hours.”

"hours' to cover 200 km or so to the base. Again, they're pretty damn fast. Context wise, we're talking far less than a single night, given that's approximately how long the Sentinel squadrons scouting the 'Nids manage to distract them.

Page 102
“Do we have any advantages over them?”

“Range,” Dashour replied after a moment’s consideration. “They have some weapons that can match ours, but not the fast ones, not from what I remember. The small ones are deadly within close range, mostly.”

Basically true, from what I recall.

Page 102
“The ones we faced,” Dashour said, “were mostly subterranean dwellers, diggers. They used boring horns, dirt eaters and acid to burrow through the earth. I suspect the ones you described are better adapted to the desert."
“I’ve heard of splinter fleets quietly orbiting planets for weeks, reabsorbing their own biomass to create new warriors suited to the planet below.”

More of Tyranid adaptation.

Page 105
The opening salvo caught the tyranids by surprise. Six birds from the various squadrons Cadian- and Armageddon-pattern Sentinels, swooped over the lip of a dune and opened fire with their longrange guns. The air crackled with the energy fire of the lascannons, while the fast revolving chambers of the autocannons spewed out a steady chain of rounds.

Given what I said before, this might imply a kilometre or more weapons range, although this is not absolute. Also the gatling autocannons. Or maybe rotary magazines.

Page 105
Tyranids exploded from the autocannon fire, the stream of shells stitching its path through their ranks and tearing craters in carapace, bone and glass. The lascannon unleashed steady beams into more creatures, vaporising smaller targets and punching searing holes through the larger ones.

Effect of the weapons fire. Literally vaporizing a 200 kg gaunt is easily going to be many hundreds of MJ (gaunts being amongst the smallest ones) whilst simply exploding it is probably worth at least a couple megajoules (either through grenade/tnt comparisons like with bolters, or by the 400 j per sq cm 'flaying' fourth degree burns. 2-4 MJ easily.)

Autocannon 'explode' too, although its sustained fire and we dont know how many shots to do that.

Page 105
Some were already firing back with electrically charged rounds.

'Nid gunfire

Page 105-106
Blue electricity enveloped the cannon muzzles as the creatures fired clustered spores at the Sentinels.
..the spore pods explode on their descent. They unleashed a sudden rain of long needles that peppered the sand...
..the needles imbedded themselves into the steel chassis of Corporal Kadi Y’dar’s bird. Several shots breached the canopy and impaled Kadi’s flesh with fifteen centimetre-long needles. Even from where he was, Hussari saw the needles spinning, drilling through steel and skin.

Biovore firing (biolectrical in nature? some sort of organic EM gun?) and the effect of a spore mine, which seems to be some sort of anti-vehicle/antipersonnel flechette munition, although its 'ammo' like most Tyranid guns seems alive and active (burrowing)

Page 107
To the untrained eye, the squadrons didn’t appear to be operating together, but then again, this wasn’t tank warfare. The Sentinels used their speed to their advantage, weaving around one another and hopefully raising enough dust to blind the enemy behind them. The Sentinels were in contact with each other, each squadron watching out for its own, and the squadron commanders answering to Hussari.

An interesting commentary on Sentinel vs Tank warfare, especially if you consider regiments like the Narmenians :P

Page 108
Some shots looked jagged and barbed, and others consisted of super-heated matter.

The latter are probably bio-plasma.

Page 111
His auspex was a collision of topographical information, a mess of orbital resonance taken when they landed over three months ago and the current data streaming through auspex. With an angry snarl, he shut off the old intel; the dunes shifted quickly around here and the orbital scans were no longer valid. He’d have to rely on auspex to navigate through the maze of dunes, regardless of how limited its range.

Auspex can be loaded with additional data from other sources, to assist its own operation (like for navigational purposes.)

Page 113
Rawan fired two crackling lasshots that ionized the air with yellow beams. The first shot bounced off a beast’s exoskeleton armour, but the second shot caught it in the mouth. The dagger of light punched through the back of its skull.

Laspistol fire. Shows that where you aim matters greatly in hurting the Tyranids - at least as much (or moreso) compared to Orks. Not sure if the bolt punching through the Nid skull did it in a narrow tunnel or this is a headsplosion. Overpenetrates like hell, which is something given Tyranid carapace and its general toughness (roughly speaking a 'Nid might have their carapace or hardshell flak analogue, and the flexible bits are the equal of flak.)

Page 114
...the small caravan of two Hellhounds and six Sentinels came to rest. The Hellhounds were modified troop carriers, each equipped with an inferno cannon and a turret-mounted heavy bolter. The two squadrons of Sentinels consisted of Catachan- and Mars-pattern birds, short-range vehicles..

More Tallarn Sentinels - close in variants, which marks at least 4 patterns (CAdian, Catachan, Armageddon and Mars.) And two hellhounds. Interesting that the heavy bolters in the Hellhounds are in the turrets rather than the flamethrowers.

Hellhounds (unsurprisingly) also have at least as much range as Sentinels.

Page 116
The glass field, cracked and broken by the weight of the tyranid swarms, reflected the dusk light like a thousand lakes. The pilots fumbled for the diffusion oculars..

Diffusion oculars, again implying the Tallarn eyewear is more than just goggles providing eye portection.

Page 119
“It’s one of ours,” Odassa whispered. “It’s one of ours.”

“Not anymore,” Cartouk said. “The tyranids must have cobbled it together from the wreckage of a cruiser.”

So its more like a space hulk of the sort Genestealers occupy, rather than a true hive ship. Though if its roughly cruiser size that gives us a rough idea of possible dimensions.

Page 121
The tyranids had remained with them for the first few hours...
..they were out there, just out of sight, keeping pace and waiting..

'Nids pacing the Sentinels, and its been at least a few hours.

Page 122
the fuel gauge on his Sentinel was dangerously low. He had enough left in the drums for a few more hours of this hellish pace, but that would mean stopping to refuel..

An oddity. They apparently carry a large fuel supply, but it requires periodic stops to 'top off' the tank, which seems a disadvantage. Anyhow, we're talking about at least 4-6 hours of endurance, plus the travel times mentioned before.

Page 124
Qubak was standing nearby with a vox ready.
He took the vox handset and waited for Qubak to raise the outpost.

200 km range on portable vox. We know the Setninel crews carry at least one, because they had one (and communicated iwth the base) one time when locating the 'Nids the first time.

Page 125
“We kept them busy for most of the night. They finally pulled back."

Impiles upper limit on how long it takes 'Nids to reach camp (if they took this long they wouldn't need to have distracted nearly so long) as well as giving a better idea of Sentinel endurance.

Men were adding more sandbags and fastening tripod guns and grenade launchers to the parapets.

tripod guns and grenade launchers for support weapons.

Page 127
Major Hussari’s small task force was a couple of kilometres behind the swarm and blinded by their dust wake. The Guardsmen spread their formation out and steered by auspex alone,..

Implied auspex range of at least sveral km.

Page 127-128
Another kilometre and the Sentinels were closing the gap fast; they would be in firing range within a few minutes.
..the auspex returned one solid mass of enemy moving away from them.
They were less than a kilometre behind when Hussari gave orders over the micro-bead to go weapons hot.
Half a kilometre away, and the dust storm was blinding.

Less than half a km weapons range here, although whether that is because of the circumstances, visibility, or what we don't know. Also auspex picks up the Nids from at least a km away.

...auspex revealed a ghost of a return, another snake-like tyranid hidden underground.

auspex detecting underground Tyranids.

Page 130
..the rotating barrel of his multi-laser into the tyranids that crossed his path. The razor beams of light shredded and cauterised any beast they caught, leaving behind smouldering, dismembered husks.

Gatling multilaser burning and Dismembering Tyranids.

Page 130
He arrived in time to see an energised plasma shot splatter against another Sentinel. The plasma salted the pilot and bored holes into his chest, before the superheated material ate through the promethium tanks.

Tyranid plasma fire.

Page 132-133
He caught each one in a hailstorm of steel-jacketed rounds..

...his cannon clicked and whined as the empty barrels spun.

Steel jacketed rounds for another gatling autocannon. Is this supposed to actually be an assault cannon equipped Sentinel, perhaps?

Page 141
The Chimeras were leaving the compound with soldiers packed inside and atop the vehicles.
The Chimeras would make a couple of trips to get everyone..

Assuming 3-4 trips and around 300-400 men, we're talking a good 8-10 Chimeras at least to haul everyone, unless they were stacking them on top. Possibly as many as 15-20, but that would probably be stretching 'a dozen or so' esp since we knew about the pair of hellhounds and may or may not include the Command Chimera.

Also took about a night to a full day (12-24 hours roughly) to transfer all those people.

Page 142
Turk watched as a squadron of Sentinels headed for the main gate carrying men on their open frame roofs. It was far from an ideal ride, but Captain Toria and his men were urgently needed to scout the remainder of the caverns...

Men hitching rides on Sentinels.

Page 144-145
The first sign of their arrival was the dust cloud that slowly devoured the horizon. Long-range auspex picked up the tyranids next, the approaching horde like a solid storm front.
That’s when the Basilisk began to thunder, firing off a deuterium macro-shell every few seconds, the sweats crew working feverishly to shove shells into the loader that automatically fed the breach.
They all wore ear-guards fitted with microbeads to hear and relay orders,..

Artillery bombardment begins roughly at the edge of Auspex detection range, implied to be indirect, non-LOS fire. Given that we know Auspex ranges from various sources (15 km in Mercy Run, 20 km in Honur Guard, and 15-20 km for Basilisk range from various sources) it all probably works out reasonably well given what we know.

Also arty crews have micro beads for communication.

The Basilisk has an autoloader with a high ROF (every few seconds - For comparison the proposed Crusader howitzer could throw a shell every 5-6 seconds.). Also deuterium shells. I wonder if this means they're throwing fusion bombs? :P

Page 146
The air was already thick with the smell of cordite from the propellants.

Basilisk artillery is using cordite for propellant.

Page 147
With bolt pistol in hand..
..firing grenade shell rounds into their bodies. The rounds detonated inside them and sent out a hail of shredding fragments into their closest allies.

Bolt rounds described as 'grenade shells.'

Page 148
He aimed down the scope of his M-Galaxy lasgun, picking off the highest climbers with a mid-range charge setting. Too little power and the shot might bounce off the carapace, but too strong a charge would deplete the power pack.

Lasgun with 3 charge settings. Anything less than mid charge is too ineffective to penetrate.

Page 148
..a shot to the face that rocked him off his feet and sent pin-sized beetles running in and out of the crater-like wound.


Tyranid sniper.

page 150-151
The spore exploded on impact, generating a cloud that engulfed four mortar crews and sent the others scrambling from the pits. They screamed, their pained howls a piercing cry that stabbed the heart. Dashour knew the effects: instant haemorrhaging, destruction of the soft connective tissues, disintegration of the internal organs. They died as their organs and arteries melted into pudding, and their skin, muscles, bones and tendons detached from one another. They turned people into bags of soup and bone.

The second spore struck the wall and caught two Guardsmen in the splatter. They didn’t even have time to scream as the liquid melted their heads and upper bodies. They fell to the ground, their organs spilling out of the exposed cups of their chests. The fast acting molecular acids also ate through the wall, opening a large crater, but not eating its way through.

The third spore struck the upper wall, this time exploding out in a web of filament threads covered in filleting micro-hooks. The threads wrapped around three men and instantly contracted.

They tore through their clothing and sunk into their flesh until stopped by bone. One soldier died with a gurgle on his lips, the threads having cut through his throat and wrapped around his spinal column. The other two cried out for help, the wires embedded half-way through their stomachs, arms and thighs.

Spore effects again.

Page 154
..a trooper wielding a melta gun fired a hissing thermal blast of ignited gases, striking a frog-like creature with powerful leaping legs and hooks for arms. The blast vaporised it and flash burned several leapers around him.

Melta gun. Megajoule at least, single (for explosion) to triple or more (literal vaporization)

Page 154
"The walls are breached!” someone yelled over the micro-bead.
“Prepare to retreat to the fire-direction centre,” Major Hussari yelled into the micro-bead.

Seems the regular troops have micro beads too.

Page 154
Dashour scrambled to grab the dropped melta gun and brought it to bear. He fired thermal blasts at the enemies, vaporising those about to scale the walls.

Melta again.

Page 155-156
..a pack of small, dog-sized tyranids leapt at him. They seemed to be comprised mostly of a large head with overly-developed fangs, a long skull crest of bone plates and six legs to scuttle about on.
Dashour fired a melta round at his feet, his last act of spite for an enemy twice faced and twice feared. The blast vaporised his lower body along with his attackers, and his lifeless torso fell off the wall...

Melta vape again.

PAge 158
..he was staring at something that measured the plateau in height, something that was lumbering straight for them like some unstoppable juggernaut.
The creature was huge, its head topped with the wicked spike of a ramming horn. Rows of sharp teeth, each the size of a man, filled its distended mouth, while a thick shell from which protruded an assortment of bone ridges protected its back. It walked hunched over, two gigantic scythes of its upper arms capable of splitting a tank in two. Wicked-looking claws stretched out from its lower hands, which were opening and closing in anticipation of the slaughter. Tentacles writhed from the gaps in its armour.

The plateau was a dozen metres tall, meaning this thing is either a fucking huge Carnifex, or some sort of small bio-titan.

Page 159
They pumped round after round of las-shot and bolter fire at whatever horror tried crawling up.

Bolters again.

Page 163
..mined and protected by two tripod-mounted stub cannons..

These might be the heavy stubbers referenced later.

Page 165
"“The charges are shaped fragmentation charges, designed to kill anything in their path. They have nothing to do with the charges that we drilled into the walls.”

The wall charges are for demo. I guess the shaped ones are claymore mine analogues or something.

Page 174
The seven surviving Sentinels cleared the mobile picket of fourteen vehicles, Chimeras and Hellhounds..

Assuming we include the two hellhounds from before, thats sixteen non-Sentinel vehicles. Presumably doesn't include the nonmilitary support vehicles we heard mention of. The exact breakdown isn't known.

Page 175
The mobile picket line reported the approach of the tyranids. They were no longer moving slowly, but running at full pitch.
Chaser Chimeras, stripped for speed and armed only with pintle heavy stubbers, strafed the flanks of the tyranid surge. They managed to pull smaller broods away from the main force and draw them within range of waiting Hellhound squadrons.

Again totally not Trench warfare! but aside from that, the Tallarn are using 'stripped down' Chimeras, meaning that they (and probably most 40K vehicles) can trade mass/weight for speed, although in what ratios we don't know (stripped down tanks?)

Also the 'Nids are fast enough to keep up with the Stripped down Chimeras.

Page 176
Corporal Bathras Euphrates sat in the commander’s chair below the Hellhound’s turret, just inside the cupola with its protected vision slits. He checked auspex and saw the marker runes of Squadron Three blinking.

Hellhounds have auspex just like Sentinels do.

Page 176
..Euphrates and the two surviving vehicles of Squadron Three were heading straight for one another. They couldn’t see each other through the dust and smoke, but their identification runes on auspex were pinging loudly as they approached.
...Squadron Three’s Hellhound and Chimera passed on either side of him..

Mixed squadrons of Hellhounds nad Chimeras. We learn later there are/were at least six squadrons, and they had more than two vehicles.

Also the Auspex can pick up said vehicles as well, although whether this is active/passive detection, IFF (EG beacons) or a combination of both we can't be sure.

Page 177
“Lost contact with Squadron Six command tank! Chimera two is in trouble,” the tactical cogitator yelled.

The Hellhound has a 'tactical cogitator' but its an officer who basically just keeps track of what the other forces are doing. Not to be confused with Imperial computer tech.

Also at leats six squadrons as I noted.

Page 178
“we just lost Hellhound Four and Chimera Six from Squadron Five! The storm is also hampering auspex and vox!”
“At last count, five Chimera and three Hellhounds, excluding us.”

Again auspex for vehicles. And also an implication of Hellhound/Chimera ratios, slightly in favor of the Chimeras, but not by much. we can't really read much into the ratios however or the numbers beyond the number of squads, because we dont know how they organized it (officially or unofficially, eg Chimera six could be the sixth Chimera of the squadron, or of the entire unit.)

They also ave micro beads the same way the Sentinel pilots do, which can communicate within the vehicle and with other vehicles.

Page 178
“A beast wielding a cannon on its back,” Aba Manar reported. He aimed and fired the heavy bolter. It struck the simian-like creature as it prepared to fire at Euphrates’ Hellhound. The round detonated inside it, cracking its carapace out and flowering the beast like a bloom of flesh and muscle.

Heavy bolter vs some gun-Nid. Probably a Biovore but hard tos ay. IIRC from Anphelion project, Biovores weigh something like 2 tonnes, and given what a grenade can do to a person I'd say at the very least the bolter orund was at least equal to one or more grenades.

Page 179-180
The tyranids were blistering the Chimeras’ shovel shields, however, unleashing diamond-hard rounds and acid bolts that weakened the plating or punched through entirely. Three cannon-backed beasts stood in the way of the wedge.
More shots whizzed past, this time from the rear: a group of bipedal tyranids armed with bio-cannons.
More acid rounds struck the rear of one Chimera. While they did not eat through completely, they weakened the rear plating enough for the next solid-mass rounds to penetrate the troop cabin.

Tyranid gunfire. The acid bolts are probably pyro-acidic shit.

Page 180
It towered over the vehicles, its four spiked arms spread in what seemed like preparation for a lethal embrace...
It lowered its head, its turtle-like shell absorbing cratering cannon fire, and rammed its bony horn through the front plate of the last Chimera. The Chimera bucked upwards, its forward momentum brought to an abrupt end, and the treads lifted high into the air before it came crashing down. The creature’s four arms lanced into the vehicle, buckling the plate under the tortured cry of wrenched metal. With a flick of its mighty neck, it lifted and flipped the vehicle over on its back.

Not sure what kind of 'Nid form this is, but it seems powerful.

Page 181-182
The tyranid that floated into the Hellhound’s path appeared frail, its limbs vestigial-looking, its long tail like a withered spine and its large, elongated head swept back with plate ridges that protected an enlarged brain sac.
Mind lightning slithered around the creature’s body, building to a crescendo. It unleashed a coruscating blast from its forehead that ripped through the Hellhound’s armour, and vaporised Euphrates and his men where they lay.
..all that remained of Euphrates was the lingering psychic scream that lay trapped in the ash shadow that had been scorched into his armour.

What is probably a Zoanthrope blasts through Chimera's armour and cremates/vaporizes the crew inside (see bits of ash). Assuming a 3-4 man crew we're probably talking in the high hundreds to low thousands of megajoules for magic psychic fire. Unless its technobabble ashing. :P

Page 183
..dropping him into the cogitator chair next to him.

Chimera had a 'cogitator chair'. although as I noted above that could refer to the officer rather than the equipment.

Page 186
..the line of fire of autocannon and heavy stubber nests..

The Tallarn use heavy stubbers and autocannons. as I noted before the stubbers could be those tripod mounted stub cannons alluded to before.

Page 186
At every tunnel, there was at least one heavy gunner, a member of Nubis’ squad with a flame thrower, melta gun or plasma gun, vaporising any of the fast runners that managed to close the gap quickly.

Flamers equated (in this case) with melta and plasma guns. Whether it means powerful flamers or less powerful plasma weapons is up for debate, but its not exactly unheard of for flamers to cremate people (however they manage to pull that off) so this isn't impossible, and magic flamethrowers would be no less silly than anything esle 40K has.

On the other hand, vaporize might not be taken literal (whcih would be even more.. interesting, since it means the flamers are exploding the flesh off bodies.

Page 187
..most tyranid ammunition continued inflicting pain and incapacitating their targets..
..the screaming soldiers that bucked and writhed in the crippling throes of agony.

Tyranid weapons would have a distinct psychological benefit to them, at least against most living opponents.

Page 187
..skewered their own dead on their talons, scythes and spike-claws, propping up the injured and dying to act as shields.


Page 190
..a snake smashed through another portion of the wall and scrambled up the tunnel towards them. The hail of blasts tore it to shreds..

no more than a platoon's worth of fire shredding some sort of tyranid 'snake' construct. Ravener maybe, possibly a Trygon but I doubt it would fall that easily even to lasfire, Earliest description I found described a four armed creature with the lower body of a tail. Raveners are 5 m long and average 1 tonne. Trygons are 9.7 tonnes and 7.1 m 'long' Assuming a 500 cm long, 25 cm diameter body for the ravener, and maybe 710 cm and 35 cm for the Trygon we're talking between 40,000 and 80,000 square cm surface area to affect. At 3rd degree burns (call it 50 j per sq cm) it would take 2-4 MJ, and at 400 j per sq cm 'flaying' injuries (which might qualify as 'shredding' it) we're talking between 16 and 32 MJ. For a platoon's owrth of fire over several seconds perhaps that isn't unreasonable 20-60 men over 1-2 seconds is ~17-34 kw (2 seconds and 60 men) up to 800-1600 kw (20 men at one second) Calling it double/triple digit kilowatts seems likely.

Then again its possible that its not just lasfire.. soo.. its probably best not to read too much into a single calc :P

Page 191
..wide enough for the four heavy stubber nests to spit out thick ropes of tracer fire...
How many explosives Nubis had planted..
..hey were definitely taking their toll on the enemy, and adding the stench of fyceline to the already heavy aroma of ozone, cordite and tyranid entrails.

Cordite from the heavy stubbers, and fyceline for the explosives.

Page 191-192
Nubis also took his share of the line, firing a heavy stubber with cycling barrels, and an ammunition chain fed from the pack mounted on his back. He cycled through his store of hollow points, delighting in the shrieks of his enemies, the near solid stream of tracers cutting the enemy in half.

Man portable, gatling heavy stubber with hollowpoint ammo fed from a backpack ammo source.

Page 192
Kamala’s attention found focus, and she lashed out with her mind, a flare of psychic electricity slamming into the beast and bursting it open.

Sanctioned Tallarn psyker blowing open/apart Tyranids with a single blast.

Page 192
One of the soldiers pressed his micro-bead twice, generating a burst of static that squawked in his earpiece.

Again micro beads seem common amongst all the Tallarn troops

Page 192-193
It was a heavy device, a shoulder mounted weapon that required a gunner to handle the tube-like launcher, and a loader to carry three spare missiles strapped to his chest via a weight distribution rigging.

Tallarn missile launcher.

Page 196
She was standing straighter, her battle-hood with its cyclops-like eye piece and power cables crackling with psyker energy.
“Something comes, something to surpass my prowess,"
"I will try to distract it and keep your minds free of its terror. Shoot when I tell you to shoot. I cannot kill it alone, and neither can you. We need each other in this."

The Sanctioned Psyker is weaker (alone) than the Zoanthrope, but she can at least delay/distract it enough to allow the Tallarn to kill it thorugh its weakened defenses.

Page 197
..their bolt and las-rounds struck a bioelectric barrier surrounding the creature. Their shots ricocheted..

again bolt and lasfire both. Zoanthrope resists squad/platoon fire.

Page 198
A hammer of bioelectric energy appeared in Kamala’s hands, her hood crackling with an electrified halo. She motioned, and the hammer flew from her grasp, striking the creature’s shields.

Sanctioned Psyker's lightning attack takes a distinctive form.

Page 198-199 blasted back with a braid of bio-energy that barely missed Kamala, and incinerated a nearby gunner.
Bolts struck the wall, and slammed one soldier in the chest, blowing his ribs open.
Another soldier on the line fell, a blast of electricity shearing his shoulder off.

Zoanthrope fire again.

Page 199
Nubis stepped into the gap, his war cry carried in the cycling whine of his heavy stub cannon.
..Nubis delivered the killing shot, a stream of hollow points stitching the creature’s face and blowing out chunks of greenish matter from its brain sac.

Again the gatling, hollow-point firing stub weapon (cannon instead of heavy stubber) which sort of confirms its the same thing.

Page 208
“F Platoon took the heaviest casualties: twenty-eight men killed. The survivors, eleven of them, including Captain Nehari, were exposed to toxic fumes."

at least 40 men in a platoon, and at least six platoons.

Page 209
..which left the command Chimera, and the triage Chimera conscripted by the medicae.

Assuming these vehicles weren't part of the 14 (+2 hellhounds) mentioned before, we have a total of eighteen Chimera varients in the battalion.

Page 209
..Private Lebbos Lassa, tapped him gently on the shoulder.

...his hand slowly pulling his bolt pistol from its holster.

A Tallarn private. With a bolt pistol as a sidearm. Why do they bother with lasweapons then? The Commissar switched out his laspistol for a bolt pistol because it had more punch, so its debatable whether bolt rounds are equal ot lasrounds.

Page 232
The Guardsmen fired their boltguns..

More IG boltguns.

Page 238
"I always hear the stars… always… I hear them throb and ache. I hear the echoes of the Astronomicon, the whispers of the warp trying to eat its way into my head.”
"..the Black Ships find us and teach us how to ignore all but the Emperor’s voice, but the noise is always there."

Sanctioned Psykers can 'hear' the AStronomican. For whatever that means.

Page 242-243
Her thoughts flew towards the heavens, her fading consciousness propelled upward by her mortis-cry, a cry not even the tyranids could silence. She broke through the silence of the stars, shattering through the veil, and felt the noise flood back in. Kamala sent her thoughts home...

So a Sanctioned Psyker sends out what amounts to an astropathic signal. Whether this is becuase its boosted by her own death, or if she routinely has astrotelepathy (The way some Space Marine Librarians can) is unknonw, but it would be unusual for a non-Astropath, non-Librarian to do this. not impossible, just unusual.

Dramatis personae
Captain Qal Abantu: In charge of the regiment’s armored support...
Sergeant Abasra Doori: Chimera commander with armoured support.

Mention again of the Tallarn 'armoured support' as part of the regiment.

Dramatis Personae:
Sergeant Saheen Raham: E Platoon’s leader and Tallarn soldier of Cadian heritage; Cadians settled on Tallarn following the Iron Legion’s attempts to invade the sulphur-laden world.

Again mention of Cadians existing on Tallarn, and the point of their colonization. This could be interesting becuase of the implications it has on CAdians influencing Tallarn doctrine, not to mention spreading the Cadians about the galaxy (meaning there are more Cadians than just on CAdia, obviously.)

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-23 04:14pm

Next up on the IG novel Ice Guard. This is by Steve Lyons (Death World, Dead Men Walking) and is, in my humble opinion, his best IG story. It lacks the 'hoo-rah' over the top-ness of Deathworld, and for whatever reason I just find the characters more compelling. Its not a 'big war' novel the same way Death World was, but rather 'small unit' stuff... a team of Valhallans going behind enemy lines on a Chaos held world to rescue an important Confessor from the heretics controlling the world. The main protagonist is the leader, Stele, whose notable features are his augmetics which give him superhuman abilities (although may not always function realiably.) They also, in some ways, seem to make him inhuman in ways that scare him and even others around him.

There's alot more to Death World than that though.. alot of it comes down to questions of duty, honour, conscience and what truly matters on a personal level. What you sacrifice to achieve an objective and what makes it worth it.

Also at the end of the story is another short story from the same author and the same people.

Page 7
...that the evacuation order had been signed. The civilians had been lifted out first, those few who could still be reached and who hadn’t been slaughtered or turned traitor. Now it was the turn of the Imperial Guardsmen on the ground.

The Imperium actually evacuated a hive world's surviving civilian population.

Page 7-8
Its mines had been bountiful, and its refineries and factories the most efficient in the sector. Its standard of living, on the highest hive levels, had been good, and even the underhives had enjoyed a far lower than normal attrition rate. Cressida’s subjects had been loyal and happy, with a consequently high rate of population growth.

The planet in question. Not everyplace is totally grimdark.

Page 9
"filed a requisition order for a Termite with the Departmento Munitorum.."


Page 10
...he thumbed his power pack setting to full auto and squeezed off fully a quarter of its charge in a deadly, lowlevel barrage across the rubble.

Many of the shapes crumpled, but as always there were more out there, many more. They clambered over the bodies of the fallen..

Full auto dischrages roughly 1/4 the powerpack in a fairly short period of time against charging cultists.. mere seconds at most.

Page 11
They were close enough for the Valhallans’ cover to mean very little. The traitors raised their guns..
He had been crouching behind a half-demolished wall, but it had been all but chipped away by las-beams.

Lasfire seems to be able to degrade at least certain kinds of cover in short periods of time.

Page 12
Then his micro-bead earpiece crackled into life, and he heard the urgent voice of a vox-operator, instructing him to fall back and report to the platoon commander.

Valhallan troops have micro-beads. The funny thing about it is while they have it early in the story, there's no indication later on that they still had them on their mission behind enemy lines.

Page 12
..jammed the muzzle of his lasgun into one traitor’s stomach and blew out his guts.

I assume this means a fairly sizeable hole in the stomach region, but possibly not all the way through or blowing the torso apart. Say a 10-15 cm size area (roughly head sized) by flash burns (400 j per sq cm 'flaying/fourth degree' burns) we could be looking at 40-90 kilojoules. By the Campbell 'blaster' style lasers (single pulse) we could be looking at (for 10-15 cm) 20-80 kilojoules to 'blow out guts'. If it just drills a fairly large hole (say 5 cm) through part of the torso to reach the organs (say 15 cm penetration) we're looking at maybe 15-20 kilojoules (in 10, 1.5-2 kj pulses).

Page 12
He reached into his greatcoat for a frag grenade and prepared to go out in a ball of fire that would consume ten or more alongside him.

Effects of Frag grenades. what 'consume' means we don't know, but I assume it inflicts at least severe burns on those ten (frag grenades seem to have burn and frag damage both) Assuming 2nd degree burns over most of a human body (say 70% over 10 bodies, and 10,000 sq cm surface area) and 20 j per sq cm for 2nd degree burns (at least) we're looking at 1.4 MJ in thermal effects if all the assumptions held.

Page 14-15
...the lascannons’ slow recharging cycle meant that he had to make every shot count.

He aimed for a giant of a man, towering over the rank and file, his face an eruption of pustules, his hair clinging to his head in clumps.
He gave it both lascannons and let their recoil reverberate through him, through his bones, invigorating him with their power. The twin beams seemed to dissect the sky with their thunderous cracks, and when one of them struck true, the mutant was vaporised.

Lascannon 'vaporizes' a 'larger than normal' sized mutant. Assuming he's 7 feet tall, and commensurably broader, and masses several times more than a normal person, we're looking at multi-MJ either way pretty much. 2-3x mass coudl correspond to at least several time sthe output of a grenade (2-3 MJ) for a single bolt. If we go by 'flash burns' of the flaying/fourth degree type (400 j per sq cm again) and assume a 2 metre tall, 60 cm wide guy and factor in both sides (24,000 sq cm) we're talking 9.6 MJ to 'vaporize.'

Literally vaporize - if we assume just the upper torso alone, and vaporizing the water content in the body (70%,and 1/2 the mass of a 150-200 kg mutant) we're looking at vaporizing between 50 and 70 kg of water. which is between 100-200 MJ easily.

Page 15
..lascannons reluctantly; like the sponson guns, they only had a forty-five degree arc of fire.

Aren't the lascannon turreted?

Page 16
Explosive rounds burst against the Leman Russ’ armoured hide, but this was where its lascannons, with their superior range and firepower, came into their own. It was not for nothing that they were known as tank-killers.

It's not specific what kinds of Cannon are mentioned, but there was at least autocannon.

Page 18
It was all right for the clerks at Naval Command, he thought. They could afford to dither, so reluctant to lose a productive world that they had hung on to hope long after hope had died. They should have ordered this withdrawal long ago. They could have spared millions of Guardsmen to fight again — but to them, those Guardsmen’s lives were only numbers on a data-slate, so what did they care?

Lyons makes frequent mention of 'Naval Command' in his novels, which I suspect is the sector 'Naval command'. although technically it should be the Munitorum issuing such orders, rather than the Navy (they would have to get Navy cooperation to lift away and transport the forces.) That said, I rather like the way the 'grimdark' is held here - the idea that they might hope to hold onto a world against invasion, even beyond what's practical, is understandable, especially for someone not formally participating in the war. Better than the 'Zapp Brannigan' or Krieg approach 'just because' grimdark, anyhow.

There are also millions of Guardsmen.

Page 22
..instructing his nine troopers to aim their fire at the leftmost of the two leviathans.
At last, their sustained barrage began to bear fruit, and Borscz saw sparks flying from the left knee joint of the bipedal machine. Without needing to be told, the Ice Warriors refocused their fire on that spot — and a long, agonising minute later, the Sentinel collapsed, and flattened a number of luckless spawn beneath its mass.
...his squad turned its fire on the second Sentinel.

Going by Forge world stats for the Sentinel and its diagrams, I'd guess the knee joint is at least 20 cm wide, and maybe 30-75 cm 'thick' depending on which joint and where it hits. Assuming a 2-3 cm diameter bolt (5mm spot size, 10 microsecond delay between pulses) and armor steel for the Campbell blaster calculator, it takes at least 250 kj (50 5 kj pulses, 30 cm penetration and 2 cm diameter hole drilled through) to 1.5 MJ (75 20 kj pulses) to drill through per beam. Which sounds impressive except.. this is over a minute of firing so that workds out to 4-5 kj at least, and up to 25 kj per 'second'.

There are some caveates here, obviously. For one thing, it assumes all shots hit (and its a relatively small moving target.) Nevermind that its 'just steel') moreover, a minute's worth of firing at full auto (3-4 shots a second at least) is easily going to be 180-240 shots per pack MINIMUm. Not impossible, but if it were only 60 shots we'd be talking one shot per second (at most) so it could either be full auto or semi auto.

If its purely thermal (melting) its between 2.4 and 35 kg assuming between a 5mm and 3 cm diameter lasbeam, 20 cm wide, and 30-75 cm 'thick' leg 2.88 to 42 MJ - 5.3 KJ to 78 kj per lasgun per second.

Given that they mention aiming shots (and Borcsz missing because of his sights) in the text, I'm guessing its single, aimed shots, meaning one shot every second or couple of seconds. Given also that they didn't burn up the powerpack in taking down one Sentinel (they expected to take down another) we're probably looking at each 'shot' comprising several seconds worth of fire easily (at least 2-3, probably more) meaning eaisly double digit kj shots.

As an aside, I should note Borscz seems to be yet another of those 'extremely huge' Bragg type guardsmen.

Page 23
Then he whipped a krak grenade from his belt, and with a grim flourish, he slapped it against the armoured stanchion of the Sentinel’s leg.
A second later, there came a tremendous bang, and the shadow of the teetering Sentinel fell across him.

Krak grenade does the same damage as 9 lasguns, and in shorter period of time too. Assuming 2 MJ for a krak grenade at least (we know from Dead Men Walking that Krak grenades are MUCH more powerful than frag. And we know that a single krak could incinerate a body in Bleeding Chalice. If we assume it mearly flayed the body apart that would still be 4-8 MJ))

By contrast - the RPg-7 grenade has between .7 and 1.4 kg of explosive weight by contrast, 95% of which is HMX, which is 1.7x better than TNT- which means between 1.2-2.4 kg of TNT equivalent. we're talking at least 9-19 kw for the lasweapon. at 2 MJ we're talking 3.7 kw.

Another benchmark here mentioned by mike is that 25 lb of gelignite is needed to blow apart a six inch steel beam (1.5-2x that for a Sentinel leg, roughly) call it 40-50 lbs. As per here I can only figure out it can be about 40-75% the effect of TNT meaning at least 16-20 lb of TNT equivalent to 30-38 pounds. Which is between 7-17 kg of TNT. 29-71 MJ equilvaent. for a single lasgun (per second) we're talking between 54-132 kw at least. although the comparison isn't quite exact here.

Page 25
When a second comrade fell, his broken body tossed in the air to be caught in the mantrap jaws of his feral killer, she let out a strangulated cry and pulled on the trigger for all she was worth, furious with herself for her wellmeaning hesitation.

Two more squad members had the same thought, and the hound was struck from three angles at once, twisting and melting in the sizzling las-beams, slumping dead at last with a Valhallan leg still clamped in its mouth.

3 lasbeams seem to 'melt' some sort of mutated wolf-beast (not a daemon near as I can tell, it doesn't disappear when shot.) Assuming 'melting' means 3rd degree burns, and the thing is as a big as a dog (call it 1 m across, and 20 cm 'wide'/thick' body) its 2 MJ to 'melt', in a matter of seconds. Triple digit kw thermal effects for lasweapons, at least, and it could be higher. If the thing masses some 40-50 kg and we assume it boils (268 kj) over half that mass (20-25 kg) we're looking at 5-7 MJ at least which could work out to several MW potentially per lasweapon.

Page 35-36
The precise schematics of the ice-boring vehicle they had developed had been lost to history. But this Termite was the nearest thing, in the modern world, to the vehicle that had won the Valhallans their war — the nearest thing to the vehicle that had given them mastery of their changed environment, allowing them to tunnel through the hearts of the glaciers and to strike at the ork mobs where they least expected.

Valhallans have ice boring vehicles similar to a Termite.

Page 41
He grinned at the memory of those comrades who had thought him mad for eschewing the standard Valhallan greatcoat. His basic flak jacket might not have provided the same level of protection against the cold, but it was much lighter, more flexible..

Flak jackets are ligther and less restrictive than the armoured greatcoats.

Page 46
"...that an Exterminatus order has been signed.”

Palinev gave an audible gasp, but the others absorbed the news silently, grimly.

“Naval warships are on their way,” said. Steele. “Cressida will be virus-bombed from orbit, completely sterilised. As a world still rich in mineral resources, it is hoped that some day it can be recolonised. Until that day..."

The Valhallans here know what an Exterminatus is and what it means. Also virus bombing 'sterilising' a planet of all life but leaving its resources untouched for (future) recolonisation.

Page 51
“Looks like we can expert two Chimeras to meet us,” said Grayle. “Still waiting for a vox from Ursa Platoon to see if we can make it three.”

at least 3 Chimeras in a Valhallan platoon (at least those that hav ehtem)

Page 52
Few Valhallan women served in the Imperial Guard. With so many men being marched off to war and so few returning, they had the vital and valued task of replenishing their world’s population, of birthing and raising the next generation of Ice Warriors.
It had taken her a few days to come to terms with the news, to accept that her life had no purpose any longer. Even one-time friends, even family, had looked at her with contempt, seeing her as a burden, a drain on their society.

Valhallan women in a regiment are (supposedly) rare because of this but.. there's always Cain's example. Besides they're still better off than the Krieg.

It turns out thta Anakora, the female guardsmen in this onvel, is an anomaly becuase she can't give birth, and as noted there is a HUGE social stigma attached to that. GRIMDARK.

Page 53
Fifteen hours, that was the average life expectancy of an Imperial Guardsmen, though for an Ice Warrior it was a little more, maybe seventeen.

Wow, two whole hours better. Less if your commander is Chenkov.

Page 59
He itched to put his foot down, to coax a little extra speed out of the grumbling engine, to make up for the time they had lost to their unplanned diversion. He didn’t want to outpace the Chimeras, however.
There were four of them...

Termites can apparently outrun chimeras in an 'off-road' icy enviroment. also possibly 4 Chimeras in Valhallan platoon at least.

Page 65
"It’s the ice, it’s… I know this sounds impossible, but I think it might be replenishing itself, reforming as fast as we can bore through it.”

“He could be right,” said Gavotski. “We know that Cressida’s change of climate has no natural explanation. We know the taint of Chaos is in the soil, lending it abnormal properties. Why not in the water as well?”

The dangers of Chaos water/ice.

Page 70
They were snow leopards, much like those that roamed Valhalla’s tundra.

Chaos snow leopards

Page 71
The leopard was standing over her, black fluid gushing from its head, streaming into its eyes, one of its legs burnt off below the knee, fused into a bloody stump. It was unable to see, unable to run, thrashing in pain and confusion, and it seemed to have forgotten its erstwhile prey.

Then it was struck by three las-beams at once. More blood and offal erupted from between its ribs, and the beast toppled onto its side, quite dead.

Stats on a Snow Leopard can be found here. call it 30 cm diameter (not including legs) forthe body and about 60-70 cm long body (not including neck and head) Guess the legs at maybe 10-12 cm in diameter and 30 cm long or so. For 'blaster' style lasers and a single shot to burn through the knee (5mm, 10 ms delay between pulses) we're talking 30-60 kj (10-15 kj per pulse) call it 8-15 kj for 3rd degree burns.

3 lasbeams in about a second or so (to stop the leopard mutant from killing Anakora) more or less blows out ribcage could be similar (assume fist sized hole at least) although if we use 4th degree (flaying) burns (400 j per sq cm) and figure 20-30 cm diameter per side (800-1800 sq cm) we're talking 400-720 kj roughly. Again call it double to triple digit kj per shot.

Page 72
Only one mutated leopard remained upright, and it was howling and twisting in the crossfire of five las-beams.

Five beams this time.

Page 73
He activated his eye’s zoom function. It took the augmetics a long second to react to his thought but then the colonel’s gaze probed, searching, penetrating the ice forest’s dark depths,...

Steele's augmetic eye has a zoom function, and possibly low light.

Page 74
He had brushed against a tree trunk, and it was razor sharp. Its edge had cut right through his greatcoat, through its layers of plasfibre and thermoplas, to score his skin

Armoured greatcoats are no protection against razor sharp Chaos Trees.

Page 82-83
"the 14th Royal Validian regiment of the Imperial Guard."

“There are just under four hundred of our company left,”

Validians.. stock of Steve Lyons Guard novels. Also a minimum of 400 troops per Validian company.

Page 84
Here they were, these brave men, doing the Emperor’s work, and their leaders couldn’t even equip them with the right clothing for the job.

In a perfect Imperium, of course, the Validians wouldn’t have been assigned to this frozen world at all, unused as they were to such conditions. Somewhere, no doubt, a low-level clerk had looked at his slate, seen how many Guardsmen were dying from hypothermia on Cressida, weighed this against the cost of a few million armoured greatcoats and chosen to do nothing.

The sad thing is, given what is going on Fifteen hours... this is quite plausible. I wouldnt' say it ALWAYS happens, but this is the Munitorum we are talking about, and Grimdark. (although given the warp logistics can be as problematic as troop deployments.) Anyhow, they end up getting sacrificed as a diversion so the Valhallans could get away from the heretics.

Also armoured greatcoats again.

Page 92
..Steele stepped out of hiding with his laspistol levelled, and before the mutant could let out a sound, he calmly blew a hole through its head.

Given a few cm diameter and a 10-20 cm diameter hole through the head.. at least a few kj.

page 94
Mikhaelev in particular proved to be an expert shot, choosing his angles well so that a single one of his las-beams often sliced through two bodies.

Assuming between 50 and 100 cm (front to back or side to side, or somewhere in between) and a 2-3 cm diameter hole roughly we're talking at least 5-10 kj per shot, and possibly several times that esily.

Page 95-97
He remembered every detail of his time in the hospital, everything they had done to him there. The medics had rebuilt one side of Steele’s head, inserted plates into his skull, and grafted foreign objects onto his brain. They had replaced the shattered bones in his right shoulder and upper arm with plasteel, the muscles with hydraulic systems.

He remembered their assurances that the pain would be worthwhile, that they were doing the best they could for him.
Steele could remember all that, but he couldn’t remember what had landed him in that Emperor-forsaken place to begin with. He had no memory of Karnak, the world to which his service records told him he had been posted for more than two years. He did not know who his comrades had been on that world, in that campaign, which of the Imperium’s many enemies they had been fighting, or what his orders had been on that fateful day.

He had no idea what had caused the explosion that had gone off in his face. He couldn’t remember his father’s eyes, nor the touch of the girlfriend he had left behind on Valhalla when his draft papers had arrived.
He could hear the flapping of a moth’s wings from forty paces now, detect its body heat from a hundred. He could perform complex calculations at lightning speed — or rather, a small part of his brain to which he felt little connection could perform them and offer up the results to him. He had near-perfect recall, and could store tactical maps and troop movements in that same small alien corner of his head.

Steele had heard it said that he could count the snowflakes in a storm, although he had never been quite bored enough to try.

And of course he had the strength of three men in his right arm — enough, he had been told, to slice through two armoured heretics with one swing of his power sword.

It must have sounded amazing, in theory, and Steele’s new-found abilities had certainly helped him to rise through the ranks. But, as Trooper Borscz would no doubt have reminded him, Imperial technology wasn’t always reliable — and far less so in conditions like these, on ice worlds such as Valhalla and the world that Cressida had become. Steele’s eye, his acoustic enhancers, the olfactory sensors in his nose, even his right shoulder, they were all prone to intermittent failures. They could let him down at any moment.

He still didn’t know which of his thoughts were entirely his own, and which had been influenced by the augmetics that had oh-so-subtly insinuated themselves into his consciousness. He had to second-guess his every instinct, in case it was based on flawed information.

He couldn’t tell where the real Stanislev Steele ended and the augmetics began.

Commentary on Steele's augmetics and their capabilities. For Guard shit its pretty high-end: enhanced strength, extreme hearing tens of metres away, rapid calculation, etc. On the other hand, it's unreliable - which is unusual for guard gear (even augmetics) and may reflect the sort of tradeoffs in 'quality vs reliability' known for Guard equipment (the more advanced it is the more tempereamental it is.) From a story standpoint its quite good too - it balances out the 'superhuman' qualities bestowed by such augmetics and demonstrates why they may not be more commonplace.

Another interesting aspect is all the 'cost's associated with it even on top of the unreliability. Steele clearly suffered pain to get them, extreme memory loss, and its strongly implied throughout the book there is a sort of 'split personality' issue he suffers from - he isn't sure whether he is really himself, or if the augmetics have been corrupting him.

Page 99
...the relative merits of Lightning and Thunderbolt fighters. Grayle was enthusing about the time he had got his hands on the controls of one of the latter, during a short secondment to the Imperial Navy.

IG vehicle driver had a secondment to the navy flying fighters. I imagine this comes useful in the IG (cross training, wise) when they run across aircraft or vehicles they may need to fly and the Navy isn't around (requisition from PDF for example.)

Page 99-100
Steele had decided that, if it was at all possible, he would take his squad across; the lake, according to the Validian, was far narrower than it was long.
..drew a long-bladed knife and held it so that its tip rested on the frozen surface. He pushed it down slowly, measuring the resistance it encountered, feeling when that resistance ended, when the knife tip had penetrated the ice and emerged into the water beneath it. By the time it did, he was pleased to note that the knife was buried almost to its hilt. The ice, he judged, was more than thick enough to support ten men.
The lake, he had been told, was a kilometre across, but it took his squad almost half an hour to reach the halfway point.
And it was shortly after that, when the Ice Warriors were at their most exposed, their most vulnerable, that the first shot rang out.

This quote is mostly setup for several of the following quotes, but it also establishes that the sniper (with a long las) opens fre on the Valhallans when they're still about halfway across the pond. We don't know where exactly the hill is or how far back it is, except its beyond the lake, and the lake is longer in one dimension than the other by quite a bit (and given the kilometre mention, far longer than that). That it's 'northeast' suggest its in a corner, so its probably much further than 500 metres away, but that's the best we can say.

Also the ice is thick enough to walk on, and more speciifcally the thickness of a valhallan bayonet. Given that 40K bayonets can range from 'being an actual knife' to 'being an actual short sword' we could easily say its anywhere from 20-30 cm thick at least, although if we were using Catachan bayonet standards it could be half a metre long or more :P I prefer to go with more like a 'straight silver' example, which means a 'mere' twenty centimetres or so.

Page 100-101
Steele replayed the last second in his mind, and found that his bionic eye had picked up something that he hadn’t noticed at the time: a muzzle flash, coming from the dark, rounded shape of a hill to the north-east.
His eye’s Heads-Up Display flagged up the outline of a man’s head and shoulders, and identified the weapon he was holding: a long-las.

The sniper has a long las and is on a hill to the NE, reinforcing what I mentioned earlier. Also, Steele's HUD records everything he sees (which he can play back) and facilitates lock on/targeting data he can use. This also reinforces that he cna probably see targets in adverse conditions.

Page 101
Two more beams punched through the ice, and blew up jets of water. The Ice Warriors returned fire, dropping into defensive crouches in the absence of cover to minimise their profiles. Their own lasguns, Palinev’s excepted, didn’t have the range of the long-las — even if they hit their target, it would be with half-strength beams. Still, they could encourage the sniper to keep his head down.

long-las beams punch through the ice to reach the water beneath. If we go by the bayonet example, this means a good 20-30 cm of penetration at least. That is not the only benchmark. Googling revealed a few variables suggesting lower minimums: For example this example says as few as 2-3 inches for a person on foot, while this and this suggest closeer to 4-6 inches. Taking the bayonet example above I'd be more inclined to go with 4-6" (10-15 cm) as a possible lower limit to bookend my own 20-30cm estimate.

Assuming a 1-3 cm hole drilled in the ice by pulsed train laser (long-las have extreme penetration, remember) we're talking easilly a few kj per shot to punch through ice for a blaster-style laser even at 30 cm or so. If its melting/vaping a hole through (steam explosion) Assuming 250K starting temp its 383 kj per kg to melt, and 2.58 MJ per kg. for a 2-3 cm diameter hole, 15-30 cm deep we're talking at least 5-10 grams, up to 25 grams, which is between 2-10 KJ at least for melting, and 13-65 kj for vaping.

We also get a bit of a comparison between lasguns and long las. Supposedly the lasguns are out of range here for precise, lethal fire, but we should note this is context dependnet. as we know from REbel Winter cold can affect lethal range for lasgun as well as the target nature. given the winter, and the noted way chaos taint affects things in this book (both persons and objects) lethal range can be reduced. This is reinforced by the 'half strength' reference for the given range.

The 'half strength' comment also suggests long-las fire is typically twice as strong as normal lasgun fire. I take this to not include hotshots, but that isn't definite. Lasguns can vary, after all.
If we go by the 500 m lower limit before, and go by the FFG idea that a lasgun has about 2/3 the range of a long-las, we also get at least a ~350 metre range approximately for Valhallan lasguns in these conditions. If we corroborate this with Rebel Winter, range in normal conditions could be upwards of 700+ metres, and long las a kilometre or more range - which is quite consistent with their capabilities (EG from Dark Heresy, 1000 yards for a marksman, Larkin's performance, etc.)

Page 102
He smiled as his HUD locked onto the distant sniper, and he squeezed the trigger and felt the recoil of his weapon driving him down, down, down…

Again Steele's augmetic eye has 'target-assist' properties. Also long-las exhibiting recoil. Probably refers either to the laser generation process, or the expulsion of coolant gasses or something similar. Maybe the power packs run on chemical reactions.

Page 102
He didn’t need to know the exact temperature of the freezing water into which he had been plunged, nor the combined weight of the armoured greatcoat and the packed rucksack that were dragging him towards the lake bed.
And yet still his augmetics insisted on seeking out such information..

More on the capabilities of Steele's augmetics.

Page 106
his flamer flared, and melted a fresh hole in the ice, making the water beneath it steam. If Steele was somehow still conscious down there, trying to surface, then he had another chance, a few more seconds...

Flamer melting a hole through the ice. Using the 10-30 cm thick estimat eform before, and assuming a 40-50 cm diameter hole, we're talking 11-53 kg roughly, which is 4.2-21 MJ for a single blast of flame.

And just to note, while we know Chaos has infected the ice, it shoudl be noted that its making it HARDER to damage, not easier, so it probably isn't going to degrade the calc any.

Page 106
“How is he alive?” breathed Blonsky.

“He shouldn’t be,” said Gavotski. “His brain should have shut down in that water. I think some parts of it did, but… but the colonel’s brain isn’t entirely organic.”

Steele's augmetics can act on their own, and extend to enhancements to his brain (or parts of it) - not unlike what some Techpriests do to themselves, I think.

Page 112
Borscz needed synth-skin, needed someone to close his wounds for him...
..rummaging through his field rucksack for his Guard issue medi-pack.

synthskin and Guard medical capabilities.

Page 112-113
Two of them were on fire, no doubt the work of Barreski and his flamer...
One of them had Gavotski in a bear hug, no doubt hoping he would burn with it.
It let go of Gavotski, who dropped and rolled in the snow to extinguish the flamer chemicals that had stuck to his greatcoat.

Valhallan in the grip of a mutant who got drenched in a flamer, trying to get burnt and even has flamer chemicals on himself.

Page 113
One was being kept occupied by the nimble Palinev, while the other had just lost a claw to Grayle and Mikhaelev’s beams...

Two lasguns remove 'claw' (hand?) from a mutant. single digit kj at least.xdxx

Page 114
..Pozhar was hit, a glancing blow to the shoulder. The force of the blast knocked him head over heels..

Lasfire seems not to penetrate the 'armoured greatcoats' when its a glancing hit, at least, although it does send the guy flying. Given that there's no mention of a wound to Pozahr's shoulder (despite being one armed due to previous injury) its safe to say it didnt penetrate (although still glancing)

Page 114
He wielded his lasgun in his left hand, his right hanging uselessly by hisside, and most of his shots went wild.

Lasgun use difficult with a single hand.

Page 114-115
...trying to push a knife through the layers of his greatcoat.

“You’re too late, Guardsman,” the foul heretic hissed. “Mangellan has the power on this world, and if you wish to live you will renounce your decadent Emperor and turn to—”

The threat was never completed. Blonsky seized his attacker’s wrist and twisted it until it broke.

Given that he doesn't immediately grip the wrist, and the guy still hasn't penetrated the greatcoat despite having enough time to issue a rather lengthy threat (seconds?) its safe to say that valhallan Greatcoats are pretty damn resilient against knife/bayonet thrusts.

Page 116
The mutant stiffened and crumpled and Barreski was left gaping at its blackened corpse...
...Barreski saw that the colonel’s right eye was black, smouldering a little.

“A small enhancement I had made on Pyrites a few years back,” explained Steele gruffly, seeing that Barreski, Mikhaelev and Grayle were all staring at him.

“A one-shot electrical weapon of last resort. It will take about twenty hours to recharge now, and my right eye will be useless until it does.”

Yet another interesting feature of Steele's augmetics - he's got a 'Bale Eye' like capability similar to Yarrick's laser death eye. Except that his is electrical.

I suspect the 20 hour recharge is because it recharges off his own body, which could mean the thing. Figure hundreds of kj assuming a 10 watt recharge rate at that timeframe. Given fairly severe third or fourth degree wounds over much of a mutant's body from that discharge (50-400 j per sq cm) we'd be looking at hundreds of kj to several MJ easily, so that fits.

PAge 119
“And it’s not as if a normal-sized hole would do,” Grayle muttered.

Anyway, they all agreed that it would make little difference at this point. Below ground or above it, Borscz’s body would be liquefied by the imminent virus bombs, reduced to a protoplasmic slime.

Confirmation that Borscz is a very large/burly human type of the probable 'Bragg' Guardsman variety. Also a mention of Virus bombing apparently being able to penetrate some depth belowground to reach buried stuff. That probably means several feet at least (or several metres if we assume the 'six feet underground' you typically hear about) reach for Virus weapons. Which tells you something about how deeply some Tyranid forms have to burrow to get below that sort of danger. It also may tell us something about the depths of other kinds of exterminatus (comparable to Virus bombing at least - CF fusion torpedoes or mass drivers as per BFG)

Page 120
“You saw how resistant the mutants were to our las-fire.”

Not only do you get chaos tainted regenerating ice, but humans mutated by Chaos on this planet is also made las-resistant, which as I noted is important for various reasons as it can affect calcs.

Page 120
..Gavotski had a couple of second-degree burns, which he had dressed...

Considering what flamers are known to do in this book and others (melting through snow and ice, or cremating people) and the fact he was covered in chemicals and held by a burning mutant, that he has mild second degree burns and is able to function is frankly amazing (rather than what might otherwise have happened.) again speaking to the resilience of the Valhallan greatcoat.

EVen if the flamer would have just inflicted third degree burns on the guy rather than second degree we'd probably be talking a difference in severity of at least 50-80% (50+ j per sq cm compared to 10-25 J per sq cm for flash burns as a comparison benchmark.)

Page 121
His bionic eye had recorded all the details — every visual detail, at least — and stored them for his later inspection.

The organic parts — the real parts — of his brain had shut down in the water, but the mechanical parts had kept him going.
..the thought that his augmetics could function without him, even in a limited capacity, chilled him to the marrow.

More on Steele's augmetics, their 'record' function and their ability to act autonomously. More specifically, the latter ability being completely unexpected and probably not intended normally.

Page 123
Normally, his bionic eye would have enabled him to count the beads of sweat on the cultist’s face and hands, his acoustic enhancers would have tuned in to the skip of the man’s heartbeat and Steele would have been able to tell if he was lying or not.

Steele's augmetics act as impromptu lie detectors.

Page 124
Barreski, however, had found a portable vox-caster, not too badly damaged. The only thing it lacked was power — and a few hours of sunlight, even through Cressida’s grey clouds, would provide that.

voxcasters are solar powered, which makes sense and probably is useful.

Page 126-128
“I heard a shot,” reported Palinev..
...Steele saw that he was holding the vox-caster, now a smouldering wreck, its components fused together, the source of the burning smell.
“I think,” said Blonsky, “that a single las-beam was fired at this machine..."
He indicated the remains of the vox-caster, still in Blonsky’s hands..

We dont know the size or composition of the vox-caster, its apparently big enough to hold in two hands - probably like the backpack vox casters (meaning its 20-30 cm across and tall, and maybe half that in the third dimension.) That's about the size of the caster in the munitorum manual, which weighs 3 kg or so without the battery.

We also know that the caster itself is probably not contributing energy (the battery) because it was out of power and needed to be rechargedin the morning.

Assuming a single pulse and a 10-20 cm area of destruction we can figure 20-100 kj, assuming high-density polyethylene. If it gets close to the melting point (EG fused components and burning/smouldering) we get the properites here a starting temp of 25c we're talking 83-109C to melt, we're talking 150 kj to 295 kilojoules per kg. Assuming up to 3 kg gets 'fused' and ignoring actual heat of fusion we're talking upwards of 450-885 kj for a single bolt.

If it had any metal components (like Iron) it would probably be higher.

Page 130-131

It had all been exactly as Blonsky had said: one las-beam, one squeeze of his trigger.

Confirms that a single lasbolt destroyed the voxcaster.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-23 04:16pm

Part 2

page 139
..a sound that he identified a moment later as the muffled cough of a misfiring flamer.

He grabbed Anakora by her greatcoat collar and yanked her backwards as a boiling geyser erupted from the ground where she had been standing. The Ice Warriors were showered with cooling water. When the deluge had ended, they crowded forward to find a large, round hole in the snow — and, at its bottom, the top half of a red-faced, spluttering Barreski.
He was cradling his flamer across his chest.

Again a flamer burning through snow. Assuming he's just a foot deep (I'd assume being buried in the snow meeans at least that), and around 30 cm in diameter hole we're talking 19 kg and 7-8 MJ to melt.

Page 140-141
..he was able to zero in on it, and two beams sizzled through the mutant’s chest fur and created livid red sores.

..he remained upright and jabbed at the creature’s stomach with his bayonet.
He grabbed the gun, rolled onto his back, and he fired, striking the mutant again in the chest, and then in the stomach, widening its bayonet wound.

It was losing too much blood, It couldn’t survive.

Lasfire makes a hole wider than a bayonet makes in the 'laser resistant' mutants. Figure a 3-5 cm wound diammeter at least (again depending on knife). at 15-30 cm 'depth' (assuming it hits vitals to over penetrates) - call it 15-20 kj at least for a pulsed laser, up to 40 kj for a 5-6 cm wound diameter. If it over penetrates like previous lasweapons (or any Lyons novel) it may be several times greater (given that the wound is as big for las-resistant mutans the normal humans it overpenetrates against probably have at least similar sized wounds.)

They also inflict thermal damge, but still permit bleeding.

Page 150
He peeled a metal gauntlet from the dead Guardsman’s hand...
“A power fist, of course,” said Barreski, sounding surprised that his comrade didn’t know. “You put this on your arm, and it generates an energy field, lets you punch with the strength of ten men. It doesn’t seem too badly damaged, either. The casing is a little scorched, that’s all. Never used one before, but I’ve seen them in action. I’m pretty sure I can work out how to activate it.”

“Activate it?” said Grayle. “You can barely even lift it!”

“Once this thing is working,” said Barreski, “it’ll lift itself.”

Guard officer powerfist. Described as being more of a strength amplifier than an actual 'explode things with disurption field' kind of weapon. apparently even can lift its own weight, like it mounted suspensors or something. Clear proof of mass reducing technology :P

Page 153
He produced a knife, and inserted its blade into a vertical seam beside the runes. With some expert manipulation, he was able to flip open a section of the wall to reveal a jumble of wires. Palinev gasped as his comrade cavalierly plunged his hands into them.

Barreski pulled on several wires, tearing them from their mountings, seeming not to care as the machine-spirits spat their disapproval. He grinned as the chiming sound cut out and the lifter began to rise again.

“A little trick I picked up as a boy,” he said.

Proof that while Imperial citizens may believe in a ghost inside tech and don't understand anything without being told by a Techno-wizard, they still can pick up practical knowledge like thye do on Necromunda.

Page 154
Steele had found something: a rectangular, white-framed data panel, mounted on a free-standing, pivoting base. He motioned Barreski to join him at it, and had him confirm that it was a public terminal. The interface was designed to be accessible, the inlaid runes simple to interpret, and Barreski was soon able to punch up a plan of the hive..

The hive had public access termianls for public consumption.

Page 163
A traitor landed a punch to Gavotski’s chin, sending him reeling, so Palinev blew a hole in his head before he could press his advantage.

Long-las in action again.

Page 164
He drove his gauntlet into a traitor’s stomach, doubling him up with pain, causing him to cough up blood as he crumpled. The other traitor grappled with him, tried to wrest the gauntlet from him, but Barreski gripped him by the front of his flak jacket and tossed him almost casually over his shoulder.

Again the salvaged powerfist seems to be a strength augmentation device rather than how we normally envision powerfists working. Even to the point that he can lift and throw the guy without apparently affecting his own balance or position (conservation of momentum, and all that.)

Page 175
..somehow he was managing to go toe to toe with him. He ducked each blow almost before it was thrown, or parried it with his blue-flaring power sword, making his foe look clumsy.
... punch from him would be enough to break Steele’s neck, one hit from his chainsword enough to decapitate him. Steele’s reflexes, or his augmetics, only had to let him down once and he would be dead.

Steele with his augmetics is able to, however briefly, fight toe to toe with a CSM. He does jack shit to it damage-wise of course, but this is an IG trooper fighting in melee with an Astartes, you have to be amazed he's even standing there at all.

Page 177
She floored the accelerator pedal.

The Chaos Space Marine whirled to face her....
..then the track smacked into him, and carried him ten metres or more, before, with a rending and a screeching of metal and plasteel, it slammed him hard into, and almost through, a solid stone wall.

CSM gets rammed by a truck. It goes without saying the CSM survives, showing it can be rammed by a truck, trhough a wall, and not die.

Page 178
She set her gun to full auto and pounded him with las-fire until her power pack was exhausted — by which time she had burned through his armour and dislodged a shoulder plate, but Steele was on his knees..

A powerpack's worth of lasfire manages to penetrate and damage CSM armour, but not much else. Implied duration of seconds to do this as well. Again it IS hard to hurt/damage CSM due to durability and power armor, but really a squad (or even just a fire team) on full auto and at range should be able to down an Astartes easily if they are well trained given this. and yet... thematic.

Page 187
“We repulse ourselves,” it said, “but none of us… chose this. Didn’t want to be this way. Chaos, so… so strong… in the water, the air… It has taken a hold of… our bodies.”
“But you’re fighting it, fighting to keep your minds pure.”

Again, indication of just how pervasive and utterly dangerous Chaos is. It can get into the soil, the air, the water. You can eat it, drink it, breathe it in, and its quite possible that any one of those may (over time, or even right away) corrupt you. It can corrupt you physically, and it can corrupt you mentally. This shows yet another way in which chaos subversion can take hold on a world without conventional means of warfare (EG bringing cultists or troops.)

It can also make it understandable why the Imperium is so intolerant of mutants. If chaos mutation can corrupt the mind, then anyone can be a potential threat to a planet's well being and stability. Like with the purging of psykers, its brutal and harsh and unfair, but the other side of the coin is that not being brutal and harsh means you put yourself and others (your entire planet) at risk if Chaos decides to fuck you over. You're fucked either way.

Funny enough, they're loyal enough to know they have to die for their taint and are willing to do so, but they want their deaths to matter. They are loyal inasmuch as the Imperium defines such loyalty as mattering, but the fact they are physically corrupted and look like mutants completely undercuts that for the Valhallans. Which is also funny given various sources (most recently 6th edition) mention mutants and such being tolerated in some places (even if only as slaves, second class citizens, or cannon fodder - all of which would apply here.)

As a last note, I should say this sort of mindset is superior to the usual grimdark. It isn't the fact that things can be bleak or difficult or depressing that is the problem - its just that 'bleak and grim' should not be EASY. When its between dehumanising people who are(were) human (which can break out into outright prejudice/bigotry and massacre at its extreme) or risking Chaos coming in and fucking up your entire world... where do you draw the line? how do you cope with it? It's not an question to answer.

Page 191-192
"If a man’s faith is strong, he can resist the corruption of Chaos, the Emperor has taught us that. To have been mutated as these wretches have—”
"We don’t know what they did to deserve this, don’t know if they are cowards or traitors or just weak — but whichever it is, they are already lost. Even if they are sincere in their intentions, they cannot be cleansed of their sins. Sooner or later, Chaos will take their minds — and when that happens, they will turn on us.”

This is Blonsky, who in the novel represents the die hard fundamentalist of the squad, and he exmplifies the 'extreme' negative side I alluded to above. Blame the victim mentality ('they must have been bad if they end up looking like mutants') extreme intolerance and bigotry, etc. As I noted before, these people are still ostensibly loyal despite being physically mutated, but Blonsky's mindset does not allow him to differentiate between physical and mental mutation. To be fair, he's not as zealous as some - he allows they may still be loyal - though he makes it clear he doubts this - but he still has a 'better safe than sorry' mindset - they may be loyal now but sooner or later Chaos will win out so we can't take that chance at all.' Which has an element of truth to it, but is still a gross over-simplification for the reasons I stated before.

There is also a certain irony in this in Blonsky's simplistic, over zealous mindset. By what we know of how the warp acts and reacts to humans, it is at least TECHNICALLY possible that a 'strong enough faith' could resist Chaos - think of the 'Nids and Orks'. But humanity are not like Orks or 'Nids - they have doubts, fears and can question. That means that it takes an exceptional mind (or just one extremely well conditioned, like a Sororitas) to achieve that sort of 'faith' - and that means it is exceptionally rare. The idea behind the Emperor's 'teaching' I suspect, is more in getting people to think/believe in that manner and hopefully tap into some sort of 'racial soul' belief to provide blanket protection, rather than rely on individually strong beliefs. Which also works, but it is not totally perfect, so some people will still get corrupted regardless.
And the irony of such is that the intolerant Blonsky is as prone to getting corrupted there as those he condemns - at least in the sense of physical corruption. Chaos can warp physically as well as mentally, and they arne't the same thing.

Page 193
He tried to switch to infrared vision, but his bionic eye still wasn’t responding.

Steele's augmetic eye has infrared.

Page 195
The mutants had built a fire on the chapel floor, in which all of the Ice Warriors had recharged their las-guns’ power packs.

The timeframe between Chapter fourteen and fifteen is 14:33.04 and 12.12.08, and both chapters begin with the Valhallans minus Steele That means they had about 2 hours and 19 minutes (call it 2.34 hours) to recharge their powerpacks. Using the benchmarks I used in Dark Heresy (first degree burns intensities 5-10 j per sq cm and solar power's .14 watts per sq cm for a lasgun pack) we can get between 7-77 watts based on 'solar power (7 watts for one facing in the fire absorbing energy, 77 watts for 'all sides' absorbing - this is still conservative since it only measures light and not heat.) 7-77 watts over 2.3 hours is between 58 and 639 kj. If its a full 60 shot power pack its slightly under a kilojoule to nearly 11 kilojoules per shot. 30 shot pack (remember DH and RT specify that recharging in a fire halves the number of shots) would be twice that 1.9 kj to 21.3 kj per shot.

With the Rogue Trader stuff I updated to highlight something known as the Kelly Kettle. I'm going to repost the stuff here since I have space to do so:

me wrote:First example was based off this article/video here. I used the pot I found here as a baseline - 1.5-2 liters and about a 17 cm diameter - which fits closely with the estimated size from the vid (based on teh guy's hand size. and the ease of lifting it with the pot lifter. Call it 2 kg of water and a 20 cm diameter pot. It takes 'a few minutes' to simmer and 'a few minutes' for a rolling boil. call it 5-10 minutes. A 'warm' day (call it 75-80F) - call it 300K. call it 306 kj per kg, so 712 kj for the pot within 5-10 minutes, which is 1.2-2.37 kilowatts. Divide that by 20 cm diameter we get between 3.8 and 7.55 watts per square cm.

As an interesting check we can look here at this fun little thing called a Kelly Kettle. The Kettle can boil water in 3-5 minutes, has a diameter of 19 cm at the baes, and boils 1.634 kg of water. At that mass it can take 500 kj to boil. At the diameter (283 sq cm) and the time (180-300 seconds) - 1764 Joules per sq cm, which works out to between 5.9-9.8 watts per sq cm. Which works fairly well.

5-10 watts per sq cm seems a good benchmark and meshes with the first degree burns. Assuming one facing you can get 250-500 watts, whilst all six facings eanr you a hefty 2750-5500 watts. Over a 2.3 hour timeframe. we're looking at 2-4 MJ for the one side, 23-46 MJ for the other. With 30-60 shots per pack you get between 33-67 kj (30-60 shots for 2 MJ - twice that for 4 MJ or 66-134 kj per shot.) to 383-767 kj per shot for 23 MJ (766 kj to 1.53 MJ per shot for 46 MJ)

so we have quite a 'range' there. Bear in mind that FFG makes it clear that they should recharge far longer in fires (as does the Sabbat Wrolds Crusade book) so this could represent either a partial recharge, or some sort of 'fast charge' powerpakc (or just a very intense fire.) or something, so we can't take this as an absolute. On the other hand, the 'water boiling' calcs also represent high efficiency (eg nearly all or all that heat/light converted into usable energy) which is also unlikely. and its also debatable whether or not all facings are involved (or at least, involved equally) so its probable that the water boiling are generous (inefficiencies would reduce the factor.) On the other end, as I noted the 'solar recharge' also does not include heat - only light (and only assuming sunlight at that) so it is naturally conservative (although inefficiencies can apply here too. That said, hundreds of kilojoules to several mj per powerpack seems reasonable as an estimate.

Page 202-203
“Concentrate your fire,” yelled Gavotski. “Try to burn through its hide!”
The Ice Warriors pressed their advantage, and the scales at the base of the creature’s spines began to bubble and blacken in their beams.

Lasbeams having a more highly thermal effect again.. 'bubbling' (melting/boiling?) and charring/blackening.

Page 206
“because your gods will betray you. That is what Chaos does. That is what Chaos is. It is treachery and deceit. How many men did you betray to get here, Mangellan?"

I'm simplifying this quote down from the lenghtier discussion between steele and Mangellan (the Chaos leader on Cressia) but it pretty much boils the topic down to what it means. Steele is caught, Mangellan tries to turn him to Chaos, so they have a little discussion about the merits and drawbacks of Chaos, and whether or not the Imperium is worthy of his service. I'll go into the latter part a bit more later, but its worth noting that Steele is partly correct - Chaos is NOT just those things (just one aspect of it is) but it's more that the nature of Chaos is change and chaos, and that means sooner or later efforts at cooperation or unity or order will be toppled one way or aonther. That cna mean leadership as well (except in rare cases, like Abbadon or Huron.)

However imperfect the Imperium is (and god knwos it has a shit-ton of problems and flaws), it still represents something generally better than what Chaos intends if it had its sway unopposed (a look at any Chaos world will demonstrate this, although good/bad tends to break down when Chaos is involved anyhow.)

Page 230
Most of their fire, in fact, was directed at Mangellan — but he was well-protected, by the Traitor Guardsmen around him..
Furst scurried along behind them, keeping close, benefiting from their armour..

Body armor providing resistance against lasfire, rather than simply just making such wounds survivable. we dont know hwat kind it is, but the Traitor Guardsmen are routinely described as wearing flak jackets. It may be that the personal guards of the high priest are wearing carapace of some kind (or just higher tier flak, like the hardshell stuff) but its up for debate.

Page 230-231
He concentrated on his own task, concealing his lasgun as best he could with his body as he placed its muzzle to Wollkenden’s chains.
Grayle’s lasgun burnt through Wollkenden’s chains at last, and the confessor fell into his arms.

Lasfire to burn through chains of some kind. Unless its purely thermal it could use a few kj to burn through (esp over a period of seconds) for a 'blaster' style. If it melts 1 cubic centimeter of iron (~8 grams of iron) we'd be talking 10 kj.

Page 233
And he was just a few metres away…
..he snuck his lasgun out from beneath his robes, flicked its power pack to full auto and squeezed off ten las-beams in the high priest’s direction.
The traitors reacted quickly, putting themselves in the line of fire, deflecting most of it with their armour… most of it… Barreski gave a triumphant cry as one of his beams glanced across Mangellan’s face, causing him to scream out, to clap his hands to his eyes.

Again Mangellan's guards body armour provides extensive protection against full auto lasfire with apparently no injury, and can protect the high priest (except for the glancing shot which blinds him.) Again we dont know if its flak or carapace, but its at least flak (and that's all that gets mentioned for Traitor Guardsmen) and at point blank range that's dang impressive.

Also I'd guess the Valhallan firing on them squeezed off 10 shots or so in a second or two, given the reaction time of the guards and the fact he's in the middleo f a mleee firing on the Chaos Leader. so we're talking 300-600 rpm rate of fire.

Page 235
Pozhar drew his gun...
And he started firing — not upwards, but straight into the bodies in front of him.

The cultists were taken unawares. They fell like dominoes, each hit felling three or more of them — and the ripple effect spread back to the Traitor Guardsmen, blocking their path, threatening to knock them down too.

Implies lasfire is penetrating/hitting up to 3-4 or more bodies at once with single shots. It could be overpenetration (which Steve Lyons depicted in Death world, but we also got that at least once in this novel earlier) or it could be from single 'sustained' beams raking over multiple targets. Assuming the 5-10 kj to make a 2 cm diameter wound through a single body the actual lasbeam could be severla times that. RAking across might be different, depending on wounds, but if its a slicing beam we might figure 2 cm diameter 20 cm 'wide' burns across the front of a body and if we assume at least 3rd degree burns (50 j per sq cm) we're talking at least 8 kj. double digit kj per shot seems likely either way.

PAge 237
He activated the grenade, on a short fuse...
Better that his body be blown apart, and then liquefied by the virus bombs..

Grenade can blow apart a human body evne if just held in a hand. Probably hints at frag grenades being several times more powerful than modern grenades.

Page 237
Mangellan was blind.

He hadn’t seen the las-beam that had hit him, his eyes already teary with smoke. There had just been a flash, and a searing pain. He felt as if his face was on fire.

Glancing las hit blinds Mangellan. That he still suffered pain suggest it wasnt severe burns (1st or mild second degree perhaps).

Page 244
Steele snatched Grayle’s lasgun from him and ordered him to keep back, to keep Wollkenden out of the line of fire.Palinev was already strafing the corridor behind them, discouraging the heretics from approaching, forcing them to run for cover. As his power pack ran dry, Steele took his place and continued the barrage. Palinev reloaded and was able to relieve the colonel in turn.

Again implies lasgun powerpacks emptied in a matter of seconds (Palinev emptying a pack between the time Steele grabs a gun and takes his position to take over, and Steele running out in the time it takes Palinev to reload) A few seconds could yield tens of shots a second (consistent with latter Ghosts novels) while 5-10 seconds would be closer to the 300-600 rpm I estimated earlier (more accurately closert o 300-700 rpm)

Page 245
..four Traitor Guardsmen rushed his position.
...but the last of them refused to fall. It just kept on advancing.
The fourth traitor had hung back, using his fellows as cover so that only when he was almost upon the Ice Warriors did they have a clear shot at him. Their beams glanced off his flak jacket, failing to score that critical hit.
The traitor staggered up to the corner, raised his gun, collapsed and died at Palinev’s feet.

AGain Traitor body armour provides sustained resistance against lasfire, but this time its explicitly a flak jacket. THe intresting thing is that it suggests the flak jacket provides good protection against anything but a direct/precise hit, or the hits that it does score are degraded to the point of inflicting only minor, non crippling injruies (non-critical hits).

It isn't total immunity of course - there is a bit of context (human shields preventing accurate firing.) and he does eventually go down before getting close up. Still as far as flak goes, thats damn impressive protection, at least as far as lasweapons go. On the other hand, since most lasweapons in this novel seem to be mostly thermal, this doesnt tell much against ballistic resistance or 'mechanical' lasweapons.

PAge 246
“At least take my greatcoat. Yours is in shreds. One bull’s-eye from a lasgun and—”
"You have the most important job of any of us. I’m not strong enough yet to carry the confessor. You have to protect him."

Implies that Valhallan greatcoats might offer comparable protection to the aformentioned Traitor flak jackets.

Page 247
Gavotski moved up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder — and the traitor turned to find himself staring down a gun barrel. A las-beam stabbed into his right eye and fried his brain.

if 'fried his brain' is taken literally, we might figure flash burns (3rd degree) over most of the surface (if we assume 3 facings burnt and about 8 cm per side for the brain, we're talking 150-200 sq cm at least, possibly up to twice that. At 3rd degree burns we're talking 7.5-10 kj at least, or 15-20 kj for twice that. more severe burns would be more energetic.) If we assume it inflicted third degree scalds through the volume or boiled (100-300 kj per kg) and a 1.4 kg brain we're talking between 140-400 kj per shot.)

Page 249
..the Chaos Space Marine, stumbling into view just a couple of hundred metres behind Blonsky, raising a bolt pistol.

Implied range of CSM bolt pistol.

Page 259
Grayle couldn’t outpace him, not driving backwards. He forced his back wheels around, made to set off along another street
The Chaos Space Marine had caught up to them. He braced himself against the bumper so that no matter how hard the engine strained, or how fast the wheels spun, they couldn’t gain headway against him.

And now the Chaos Space Marine stooped, took the truck by its axle, lifted it, one-handed...
...the Chaos Space Marine flexed a powerful shoulder and gave the truck one final twist…..

CSM can keep up with a truck in reverse, or chase it. He can also stop its forward momentum (and survive that acceleration hitting him) as well as lifting it up and fucking over its axle. one handed.) Given that truck is probably close to a ton or more (nevermind carrying 8 or so armored guardsmen)

Page 263
At some point, a sleek, black grav-car had come speeding this way...
There were more grav-cars down on the forecourt, most of them burnt out or turned over, or both. There was also a dirty old bus — transport for the less privileged...
..its tyres slashed.

Grav cars for the wealthy, vehicles with tires (or at least busses) for the commoners. Still, grav tech! RARE AND LOST.

Page 270
“that frigate. You think you can fly that, Grayle?”

“I don’t know, sir. I don’t have much experience in the air."
They saw that its engine housings had been torn open, perhaps by an asteroid strike, perhaps by enemy fire.

Spaceport 'frigate'. This is of course a Guardsmen assessment of naval vehicles so it might be wrong, but given that 500-1000 metre starships hAVE landed on planets, its not unreasonable for a small escort (which can include frigates) to be able to land, either.

Page 270
Grayle had pulled up beside a tiny lander, similar to the one in which Wollkenden had made his forced landing — and hardly in better condition. Its surfaces were encrusted with ice, its engine pods fire-blackened, and its landing legs were crippled so that it listed to one side.

Lander, similar to an aquilae lander that was what the crash had been. Their escape vehicle.

Page 271
“This ship has armour plating."
..they were wielding nothing more deadly than las-guns. They couldn’t damage the lander itself...
He crouched behind one of the ship’s wings, as las-beams cracked into it and were comfortably absorbed.

The aforementioned aquilae-like lander is resistant to lasfire.

Page 272
At almost the same moment, an enemy las-beam struck one of the few undamaged struts around Steele, and it bowed and almost broke.

Struts apparently aren't armoured. Probably the landign struts, as they note that the lander almost falls and crushes Steele. Damages without completely severing the strut. We dont know how much damage was done, or how thick the strut is (or what its made of) but I'd be willing to bet its at least a good 2-3 inches across. ASsuming aluminum and it punches halfway through that (2-5 cm of penetration) 10+ kj per shot seems likely for even just a few cm of penetration (the penetration has to 'cut' length and width to some degree probably) so double digit kj again seems quite likely from here. That is for a 'blaster' style laser. If its a heat ray, the energy requirement could be greater.

Page 277-278
A las-beam glanced off Steele’s shoulder, only part of its force absorbed by the ragged remains of his armoured greatcoat, and he clenched his teeth against the searing pain...

Even Steele's ragged, shredded greatcoat provides a measure of protection against a lancing hit. Still first degree burns since he can feel pain (although how glancing is up for debate - look at Mangellan example before.) If we used the 'near miss' cuasing scars/burns from Rebel Winter, for example, it would hint at reducing the severity of the burn quite a bit (severe second or third degree to mild second or first degree.) which fits with the flamethrower resilience.

Page 278
Five minutes before the virus bombs dropped. Five minutes for Grayle to reach escape velocity and leave this doomed world behind.

5 minutes to reach escape velocity. Assuming 8-12 km/s we're talking between 27-40 m/s^2 at least, or 3-4 gees for the aquilae like shuttle in shitty condition.

Page 279-280
[spoiler="Don't want to ruin the ending.."]
And suddenly, it all made sense: why the Ecclesiarchy had appeared so keen to retrieve their confessor, keen enough to have his would-be rescuers sanctified, and yet the virus bombing couldn’t be delayed for him; why the fate of such a dignitary had been left in the hands of a mere ten men.
“A virtual saint.” That was what he had been told about Wollkenden. A man who, through words and faith alone, had inspired great deeds. A man who could turn the tides of war, whose name was fast becoming legend. So, the Ecclesiarchy could hardly have turned their backs on him, could they? Even if they had known…
The legend was a lie. The man for whom he had come so far, risked so much, was just an ordinary man after all: a man touched by Chaos. Wollkenden had been tested, and he had failed that test. His mind had been forever warped.

Steele had never had a chance to succeed in his mission. He had never been meant to succeed in it. Wollkenden could not be saved.

As I noted before, one of the themes of the story (aside from Steele and his augmetics) is the 'Chaos vs Order/Imperium' story. It's grimdark, but of the 'acceptable' category. Steele's mission was doomed form the start, the Imperium probably knew it, and sent (sacrified) him and his squad anyhow for their own purposes. Mangellan's discussion with Steele over whether the Imperium was worth serving when it did this, or whether Chaos was better plays into it here.. a bit of foreshadowing I think.

What saves it from being lame grimdark is that Steele and most of his squad do survive despite failing their mission (and the planet getting destroyed - more grimdark), is that it's really Steele's choice - while it is an 'official' failure, Steele can decide whether or not his mission is a personal failure or not, and whether or not it was worth it, by deciding whether or not the Cardinal goes back alive or dies a martyr despite the fact he himself has fallen to Chaos. Ultimately he (and his men) have that personal choice - they can decide whether to give into Chaos (and what it represnets) or they can stay true to their beliefs and defy Chaos and what it will lead to.

It is also a bit amusing that the 'expendable' Steele and his men (and woman) are actually more loyal, more resilient to Chaos than the object of their mission - the all-important Confessor who is a 'virtual saint.' Hell, the fucking MUTANTs who remained mentally pure were still more faithful than the Confessor - who looked human, but had mentally surrendred to Chaos. Which is more hilarious given Blonsky's earlier, unthinking prejudices.[/spoiler]

Now the short story 'A blind Eye' which follows the events of Ice Guard and the survivors of the mission.

Page 531
Somewhere in the water beneath him, there was an Imperial base. An Adeptus Mechanicus facility. Transmissions from the base had ceased, some months ago, and Steele had been sent to find out why.

"months' to reach their destination, at most. we dont know how many.

Page 531
They were winching down a vehicle form the belly of the [drop] ship: a Valhalla pattern Termite. With its gun emplacements closed and sealed, it was watertight.

Vallhallans have access to Termites as routine, even though some sources declare this is lost, rare technology.

Page 532
"Why extract us from Dask and fly us halfway across the galaxy for something so trivial?"

Implied they traveld 'halfway' across the galaxy, in months. If true, we're talking tens or mor eprobably hundreds of thousands of c travel time easily.

Page 532
"They could be doing anything down there - studying xenos tech, perhaps, that oculd change the course of a tohusand wars."

Admech studying xenos tech. Not only do they do research, they do XENOS research, and this isn't instantly deemed heretical by the ignroant human meat shields. HA HA.

Page 532
"We lost almost nine thousand men on Cressida, and failed to rescue Confessor Wollkenden.."

Considering that Ice Guard mentions losses of hundreds of thousands total, this may just be Ice Guard or even just the losses amongst STeele's old regiment. Given that there are probably multiple Valhlalan regiments present on the planet (tens of thousands of men) this is actually rather light losses Guard wise (1/5 or less is not nearly as grimdark)

Page 533
The Valhallan 403rd, Steele's new regiment, had no sub-aqua vehicles. They had had no need of them before. The Adeptus Mechanicus base, however, was over two hundred metres down, too deep for even an Ice Wariror to dive to it unprotected.

They had been forced to improvise.

IMPROVISIATION and Adaptation for the HIDE-BOUND Imperial Guard. Especially with RARE and LOST technology they should not have.

Also Termites are airtight and can apparentyl function reasonably well underwater (all terrain, quite literally!) What's more it implies that the Guard (at least some forces) can have aquatic (or underwater) vehicles if the situation demands, which is nice given the Imperial army sub from Black Tide, and the Naval Guard forces in Flesh and Iron.

Page 533
"This Termite was modified to burrow through glaciers" said Sergeant Gavotski. "It's engines have been drenched with melted ice a thousand times."

"It's old, that's all." said Grayle. "Well, no sense in sending a newer-vehicle down here when there's little hope of retrieving it later."

Again LOST AND RARE tech that they are talking about being expendable. Apaprently technology is not always more important than men, and older is not ALWAYS better :P

Page 534-535
"The drill-mounted flmaers should work underwater, sir."
The creature was huge, squid-like in shape, a dark purple in coulour, and it held the Termite enwrapped in its ten long tentacles.
..Barreski had a hand-held flamer.

A stream of burning promethium seethed through the water, struck the creature between its ieyes. The recoil sent Barreski spinning away.

The creature must have had no pain centres, because it didn't flinch at all and its grip remained strong, despite a pair of angry red burns. On dry land, it would have died anyway, but the water kept the promethium flames from spreading to engulf it.

Barreski refoccused, aiming now at the tentacle that was holding Palinev, perhaps hoping to sever it.

Giant squid attacks the Termite, and it gets attacked by flamethrowers underwater. As far as I know, no real life flamethrower can be used underwater to ANY range, much less in the fashion were see here (having a range, burning, etc.) While the flamer seems degraded here, the fact it can shoot a coherent stream of anything combustible underwater is... interesting. It would be more like thermite really in that regard which I think CAN work underwater. And sever limbs at that.

Between this and the cremation aspects of flamers, I think we can just reiterate that 40K flamers are more magical than RL flamethrowres are.

Page 536
..he didn't see the next tentacle coming. He did, however, hear the whoosh of water dipslamcent that preceded it, in time to throw up an arm to protect his head. Steele was struck in the side. His greatcoat kept his ribs from breaking, but he lost almost half his air.

Greatcoat armour protects against blunt trauma impact form giant squid (hard enough to break bone) which is impressive, but i dont think it could be just cushioning. Part of me thinks its that 'goes rigid' aspect hinted at for flak jackets (munitorum manual) in some sources, but usually ascribed to mesh.

Page 536
Then a jet of fire flared over his head, and burned the tips off two grasping tentacles.
Barreski was drifting in the water above Steele, his falmer to his shoulder.

Underwater flamethrowers again. What's more, it can be aimed :P

Page 537
lasguns barked out from each side of him. He was caught in a crossfire of ten or more beams and cut down.

Vallhallan takes at least ten and possibly s many as 2 dozen beams and goes down. Upper limit on Greatcoat resilience.

Page 537
An inner door slid open with a hydraulic whoosh.

An Imperial frag grenade came clinking, skipping alng the floor, and landed perfectly in front of the airlock doorway.
The others flattened themselves against the airlock walls as the door whooshed closed and, in that same instant - was blasted off its frame.

The door had saved the Ice Warriors lives, taking the brunt of the explosion.

We dont know the dimensions of the airlock, but blasting a metal door off its mounting is... insanely powerful, methinks. ESP for a mere frag grenade.

Page 537
"Easy on the explosives" Steele cautioned through his comm bead..

comm beads again.

Page 538
Steele tested the vox-net. It wsa working, but intermittently. They had left the heavy caster behind in the Termite, and evidently it was damaged, unreliable.

comm beads seem to be tied into the larger voxcasters. We dont know how far away the termite is, but its at least hundreds of metres (they didnt know where the base was and they had to travel some distance to reach it.) and can sort of work underwater, but its also implied the damage is the problem rather than the surroundings.

Page 539
He screwed an infra red scope onto his long-las sniper's gun, and put it to his eye. Steele switched his bionic eye to infrared, too.
He took hi stime, finding his unsuspecting targets thorugh his scope. Then he fired around the curve of the wall, just twice.

Palinev's sniper rifle has an infrared scoep (or a scope attachment that is infrared) and Steele has his augmetic eye's infrared mode again. Implied that Palinev's rifle can also see through obstructions.

Page 539
He voxed the other two teams for status reports. Mikhaelev's voice buzzed through Steele's comm-bead, but its word were indistinguishable.

Comm bead again.. more than Steele has them.

Page 540
He had only heard tales of those warp-spawned abominations, enough to know they came in all shapes and sizes.

It was bound to the machine- nailed to it, in fact, it sblood dried black around it swounds. Numerous wires and tubes burrowed int ot he daemons' flesh. Its leathery chest 0 what steel took to be its chest - had been sliced open, to expose muscle and sinew. Inside, a shirvelled, black organ emitted regular spasms. The machine, it seemed, was keeping the daemon alive, so that it oculd be dissectd, studied.

Daemon life support! Despite the hilarity implied here, it does make a.... kind of sense if its a possessed creature rather than just a directly manifesting one. However, the latter is implied given that it discorporates when 'killed'

Page 542
Mikhaelev had six krak grenades. More than enough, if they were placed wisely. He attached two to the half-melted machine that the daemon has befouled with its touch.

Krak grenades used to demo the base - at least when placed right.

Page 543
Static hissed over Steele's comm-bead. He couldn't make out a word of the incoming message, nor identify the voice that had sent it. He could hear las-fire again, however, and this told its own story. Mikhaelev could hear it, too..

comm bead again.

Page 546
steele was not an emotional man. His augmetics saw to this, swift to counter any perceived imbalances in his brain chemistry.

Steele, it seems, was subjected to something akin to the 'rite of pure thought' the Techpriests get. This hints at his augmetics being considerably higher tier than what a guardsmen normally gets. Might also explain their unreliability (access to appropriate resupply/repair harder to come by, not used to the variable conditions Guardsmen might be exposed to, etc.)

Page 545-546
"None of us can escape the taint of this place, Colonel."
"You knew what we would find here." said Steele. "Or suspected it at least., before we even embarkded upon this mission."

"There is a higher concern here." said Kellerman. "Were it to become known, this attempt by the Cult Mechanicus to truck with the Ruinous Powers, then-"
"Then you understand." said Kellerman, "That faith in all too many is a fragile thing, and that the unity of Man must needs be preserved."

"I understand," said Steele "that the purpose of your order was to shine the Emperor's light upon the sinner, not hide his deeds in deeper shadow."
He left the accusation implied: Had you not been so keen to learn those secrets for yourself. Had you not known full well the purpose of this base, and turned a blind eye to it.

Kellerman had required an expendable squad - and, in the eyes of some of the members of his order, there was one whose commander had already seen too much.
"My devotion to the Emperor is beyond question. What I will not accept is the slaughter of good men, good soldiers, in His name, struck down from behind by one they took to be an ally."

Yet another 'Chaos vs Order' theme for Steele and his group, and again the 'expendable' guardsmen prove to be superior than the more valuable types who seemingly seem to do the heretical.

Steele also faces that question pitting his loyalty to the Emperor/Imperium against the flawed (and contradictory/idiotic/selfish) servants and leaders within it and who deem him and his men expendable. A good 'theory vs practice' sort of situation - the Imperium's 'theory' towards individuals and Chaos and the survival of humanity and the Imperium as a whole, versus the individual (Steele in this case) desiring to protect and preserve those under his command (or those that he cares about.). It's something that I think the Soul Drinkers series tried addressing, but Counter could never quite pull off (but it works here for Lyons, for whatever reason.)

It does help that its implied that the Inquisitor may be a heretic (or at least a radical).

As an aside, we again get the idea that 'faith is fragile' which was touched on in Ice Guard (blonsky and his attitudes towards the mutants and mutations on Cressia, for example.) which is true in a way- human mindsets aren't like other aliens like Orks or Tyranids - they have doubts and fears, and this makes them all the more susceptible to the predations of Chaos. So how does the Imperium cope with such? Willpower and faith work for some, but not for everyone, and the Imperium cannot hope ot survive if it relies on the personal initiative of everyone (becuase humanity is fractious - about the only thing it shares iwth the Orks.)

Page 546-547
It took Steele's augmetics a tenth of a second to calculate that there ws too much power behind the attack for him to stand a chance of blocking it. Too long.

Reaction/response time for Stele's augmetics, which implies his own 'enhanced' reflexes. helps to explain how he could even briefly stand up to an Astartes in Ice Guard doesn't it?

Page 549
..the explosion came.
When it was all over, there was a hole in the ice, four hundred metres in diameter, a hole centered on the spot where, an hour before, the seven of them had stood.

low kiloton range explosion probably, assuming it blows a crater (single or double digit kilotons depending on context.)

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Havok » 2013-05-23 09:48pm

Man, I wish you would do this with a franchise/books we were interested in. :P

It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-24 01:29am

I could always do this with Gundam if you prefer :P

Or do you have a franchise in mind? Maybe the STar Wars EU? lol

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Havok » 2013-05-24 12:42pm

You know, if you did this with the EU I may actually enjoy it more. Like when Publius used to do it.

It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-24 03:16pm

Heh, really? Well I had kinda considered that once, but I'm not really as passionate about SW as I was. SW crap is too 'entrenched' and dogmatic as an artifact of the vs debates for my tastes, and I'm not even sure I'm completely divorced of my past beliefs there. Also, to be honest, I've gotten tired of Star Wars' approach to fiction and its repetition and quasi-religious adherence to canon and that too has become an entrenched part of Star Wars. I hate hearing about 'G-CANON' or 'T-CANON' or crap like that. I feel like 'canon policies' are straightjackets, but Star Wars has a canon policy and I'm not sure I can justify ignoring it the way I can in 40K (at least not without appearing arbitrary lol.)

It is kind of a pity, because once I'd been hoping Pulibus and I might sort of re-ignite that by doing stuff along those lines. If I'd had someone to do it with like Ender or Publius it would still be fun (because talking with Publius about the Domus Publica stuff and exchanging ideas WAS fun as hell) but on my own it.. just doesn't appeal. not for Star Wars.

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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-30 09:31am

Next IG novel.. we're back to Steve PArker and his second novel: Gunheads. Its the first IG tanker novel (at least truly tanker) and its Steve Parker writing Cadians. We were introduced to these people in 'Planetkill' with the short story Mercy Run (which I have no need or urge to revisit lol) and it follows up on the Planetkill story. The Cadians are after Yarrick's Baneblade on the Ork planet of Golgotha, but there's much more to this than meets the eye. It is also notable as a novel for reinforcing alot of the ideas introduced for 40K tanks in 'Honour Guard' in various ways.

Three updates. Plus I may throw out the short story 'Waiting Death' since it was in the second omnibus (I read the actual paperback so this is not the omnibus version.)

Part 1
Page 10-11
It tore Nameth's head from his neck with a single huge hand. Cal had been lying close by. His friend's hot blood had splashed over his back, soaking his clothes while the rest of the crew screamed and cried out for mercy. The monsters laughed at that, then bound the crew's hands, fixed metal collars around their throats, and chained them all together.

There were children here, too, they said, dozens of them starving to death in tiny cages. The monsters, communicating to their human slaves through crude mime, regularly threatened to devour them if their parents didn't work harder.

Orks murder and enslave humans they capture from some sort of salvage ship. For a joke race, its well to remember that they're as brutal and uncaring as Chaos, or the Dark Eldar. Hard to laugh when you're being beaten by said joke race.
The horror of starving children as slaves too, used a psychological goads to torment the parents (threatening to eat them) is horrific too, and it goes to show the Orks aren't dumb. They know how to motivate human civilians.

Page 15
Imperial spaceships, massive and ornate, comparable in size and baroque beauty to the largest cathedrals of Holy Terra, hung together in the infinite dark. They had slid from the warp almost forty days earlier, bisecting the orbits of the outer planets on trails of blazing plasma until finally closing on their ultimate goal. That goal lay somewhere below, on the world that spun beneath them, a world that glowed bright in the glare of the system's harsh sun.
From high orbit, at least, it was a stunning sight...

!40 days travel insystem, even at billions of kms distance isn't all that great velocity or acel wise. Single digit gees could easily handle it, but the time is going to limit velocity more than anything.. tens or hundreds of km/s, perhaps a few thousand for very long range (40+ AU). Of course they may be sneaking insystem to avoid Ork patrols or craft, so it may not be any absolute limit.
Its also mentioned the ships are at high orbit, which is interesting considering they scoured a landing zone via orbital bombardment not one page before. Ranges of at least tens of thousands of km for such bombardment.

Page 16
The fleet sent to recover it was a mixed force. In the centre, a ship far larger than any of the others dominated the formation. This was the Scion of Tharsis, a Reclamator craft of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the ancient and inscrutable tech-priesthood of Mars without whom none of the ships present would have existed at all. The Scion was flanked on either side by the Imperial Navy's Tyrant-class heavy cruisers, the Helicon Star and the Ganymede, around which swarmed myriad smaller escort ships and armed transports.

Composition of Imperial task force. Note the 'heavy cruisers', rather than a normal cruiser (as it is defined in BFG terms.) either a mistake, or some cruisers can be redesigned as heavy cruisers.

Page 17
"All men present and accounted for, sir. Vehicles already onboard, lashed and locked. Flight and tech-crews ready for the go. Companies one to ten awaiting permission to load."
Thick veins throbbed at his temple with the effort of projecting his voice unaided to almost two thousand men.

81st Armoured Regiment. 2000 men, 10 companies.

PAge 18-19
Vinnemann's distinctive posture was caused by his augmetic spine. Twenty-four years earlier, while just a captain, he had undergone a life-saving augmentation procedure following the destruction of his Vanquisher battle tank. His body had never fully accepted the implant. Regular injections of immunosuppressants and painkillers eased things a little, but not much. The injury should have killed him, and so, too, the subsequent operation, but his indomitable spirit had kept him alive, that and the care of the Medicae nurse he later married.

Augmetic surgery, augmetic spine, and the fact that augmetics may not be totally accepted, which can have unpleasant side effects.

Page 20
Millions would die to stop the foe on Armageddon, tens of millions, perhaps. Yarrick's war demanded it. The very heart of the Imperium was at stake. Why should his sons be spared the fate of their comrades? He knew that glory, victory and a good death were the best he could ask for them. It was all that most good Cadians asked for themselves.

This novel takes place at the time of Third Armageddon, the fact of which is partly the reason for this novel and its conflict. Also, as hardcore as the Cadians may be in their upbringing, some can be human enough to care about their families and children.

Page 21
Vinnemann watched them proudly as they marched up the ramps and into the bellies of the waiting drop-ships, each company to a ship of its own.

Each Drop ship holds an armoured company, which is 200 men and their equipment.

Page 22-23
After seven long and troubled months aboard the Hand of Radiance, it was time, at last, to return to war.
The trip from Palmeros to the Golgothan subsector had been the longest unbroken warp journey of his career..

This novel picks up just after the short story 'Mercy Run' from Planetkill, or rather the warp jump that ended with that novel and begins with this one. Its an unbroken warp jump, which is important to note for later. Also it took seven months to arrive, although as we noted before, at least 40 days of that was in-system travel. so we're looking more at 170 days tops, possibly less. If we figure same time to and from the system (40 days) and that would be 130 days at least for travel.
Distance wise, we know it was a single, unbroken jump, and Golgotha is by the Maelstrom in Ultima Segmentum, whilst Palmeros (as per Mercy Run) was in Ultima Segmentum. Exactly where we don't know, but given Thraka wiped it out we're probably talking close to Armageddon. By the 5th edition map that implies somehwere between 10-20K LY. Which means generally speaking 22,000-56,000c roughly. Not the fastest warp travel in 40K terms, but not slow either.
The funny thing is, the 5th IG codex (and Apocalypse) mentions the Fortress of Arrogance being reclaimed for/during Third Armageddon (and we know Ghazzie is active during Mercy Run,) so this entire event took place within the course of a year or so. 7 months to amass/recover the tank (it would seem), leaving 4-5 months to travel back from Golgotha to Armageddon (another 10-20K LY) which is closer to 50-70,000c average transit speed.

Page 24
..Wulfe led his men through one of the drop-ship's cargo holds, turning his head to look at the tanks and halftracks that rested there. Beyond them, further back in the shadows, sat the company's fuel and supply trucks. All of the vehicles were covered in heavy brown tarpaulins, lashed down with thick steel cables and bolted to solid fixtures in the floor.

The vehiclular component of the 81st Armoured company.. trucks carrying supplies, half tracks (unknown role) and the tanks.

Page 24
The Leman Russ Last Rites II boasted a Mars Alpha pattern hull, so she was fractionally longer in the body than the other Leman Russ. She was an old girl, and badly scarred - in Wulfe's opinion, one of the shabbiest tanks he had ever set eyes on. Her armour plating was riveted together, rather than mould-cast, and her turret was all vertical surfaces just begging to be hit with armour-piercing shells or rocket-propelled grenades.
She was nothing like her predecessor, and he cursed her for that. He remembered seeing her for the first time and wondering if, in assigning him this old junker, the lieutenant had meant to punish him for something.

Mars pattenr Leman Russ hull, and in general an old tank. The notable things, to my eyes, are the construction of the armour and the fact that you can actually slope (in some fashion, and in some manner) a Russes hull even though it has a bunch of areas (like the sides) where there are flat planes (maybe they go for vertical sloping?)
Also, we get the general 'older is not always better' concept

Page 26
Wulfe and his men soon found their seats, buckled themselves in, and reached up to pull metal impact frames down over their heads and shoulders. The frames locked into place with a loud click.
Almost two hundred men sat in the compartment. They were Gossefried's Gunheads, the 81st Armoured Regiment's 10th Company. Only the lieutenant and his adjutant were absent, seated in the cockpit with the drop-ship's flight crew.

Drop ship interior. Note the impact frames (for later), and the fact it carries 200 men, indicating again the size of the regiment and the size of a company (of which there are 10)

Page 27
His previous tank had boasted sponsons on either side of her hull, two protruding compartments, each housing a belt-fed heavy bolter that made messy work of anything foolish enough to close with her.
..he new machine - hah! he thought. What was new about her? - lacked the same potent defences. Her flanks were practically naked. Her side-armour might be one hundred and fifty millimetres of solid plasteel, but there were weapons aplenty in the hands of mankind's enemies that could cut through it like butter. An attacker only had to close the gap. Without side sponsons, it would fall to Wulfe to cover the tank's blind spots from his cupola high atop the turret. There was a box-fed heavy stubber there, pintle-mounted with a nice, wide arc of fire, for exactly that purpose.

Again differences between last tank and current.

Page 28
" Engines engaged. Activating onboard gravitational systems in three, two, one..."
Wulfe felt his stomach lurch, a brief moment in which his body weight doubled as the grav-field of the Hand of Radiance and the drop-ship's field overlapped. Just as quickly, the feeling was gone, and the drop-ship's onboard gravity became the only force pulling him into his seat.
"Bay doors cleared,"

Drop ship has artificial gravity, but its unlikely to be inertial damping given the drop frames mentioned earlier
Also it takes a second to clear the bay

Page 28
The 18th Army Group's catastrophic losses on Palmeros had left it at less than half strength. Senior cadets from the Whiteshields - the tough, teenaged Cadian training regiments - had been drafted in to replenish the ranks, but most of those had been posted to regiments in the 8th and 12th divisions. After promoting suitable men from the tech-crews and support squads, the Cadian 81st had to make up the rest of their numbers with men drafted in from the 616th Reserve Regiment - men who, in most cases, had never crewed a tank in their lives.
The reserves were rarely employed at the front lines, tending instead to be used for garrisoning duties and the like.

Mention of reserve regiments and whiteshields as sources for replacement crews. Reserve regiments not considered ideal source, as their primary role is as garrison troops.

Page 31
The ceiling speakers crackled again. "Particle shields holding at eighty per cent. Entering stratosphere in ten, nine, eight..."

Dropship has 'particle shields' whether that means forcefields or some osrt of physical ablative shield.. we dont know.

Page 32'
"Tropospheric entry achieved. Height, nine thousand metres. All personnel brace for increased atmospheric buffeting. Touchdown in approximately nineteen minutes. Disengaging onboard gravitational systems. Switching to local gravity in three, two, one..."
For the second time since he had come aboard, there was an instant of gravitational overlap that made Wulfe feel twice as heavy as he normally did. Some of the men grunted as their bodies protested against the sudden strain but, once the grav-plates below their feet went dead, they hardly noticed the difference.

Again dropship Ag, being disengaged now (although why they start feeling significant gravity NOW.....) also they're 9 km above ground and need.. 19 minutes to reach surface.. It can't be a straight line descent as they'd be moving at less than 8 m/s.,

Page 32-33
..Golgotha's surface gravity was a fairly manageable 1.12Gs. Wulfe, who typically weighed around eighty-five kilograms, now weighed twelve per cent more, a little over ninety-five, but the increase didn't bother him. The tech-crews onboard the Hand of Radiance had taken care of that. Since leaving Palmeros, they had incrementally increased the shipboard gravity each day, subtly preparing the troops for their eventual ground deployment.
Wulfe had felt his appetite increasing little by little, and had noticed his clothes tightening around his arms, legs and chest. His body had adapted. Now, with the planet's local gravity acting on him directly, he didn't feel any heavier than normal. It would make a big difference to the tanks, though; fuel efficiency, firing distance, trajectory, speed, wear and tear. All of these were matters of serious concern. The enginseers in charge of the regimental tech-crews wouldn't be getting much sleep.
Golgotha's atmosphere was thicker than most populated worlds, and the pressure differentials between the planet's hot and cold zones reportedly made for some truly ferocious storms.

Differences in gravity have effects both on the troops and machinery. The troops seem to be fairly simple - over the last 7 months gravity was gradually increased to acclimate them, with the improvement in muscle strength (increase in mass) and the increase in appetite (to compesnate.)
Tank wise.. its a more serious issue, affecting a myraid of factors. The notable ones are firing distance/trajectory and tank speed (although wear and tear and fuel efficiency aren't trivial either.) Important to note these for later.
The difference in atmospheric density and pressure (as well as the weather) will also no doubt have an influence on vehicle performance.

Page 33-34
"Altitude, seven thousand five-"
The static-ridden voice was suddenly drowned out by the most awful, ringing screech. Wulfe pressed his hands to his ears. He knew that sound, knew it never heralded good news. It was the sound of tearing metal!
The drop-ship suddenly rolled hard to the right.
"That's enough of that! It's turbulence, you kak-eating dung-worms. You heard the cogboy. Buffeting, he said. Now, pipe down!"
Rhaimes' lie was all too obvious.
The ship rolled hard in the other direction and righted itself, though the juddering was so severe, now..
"...concentrated anti-aircraft... storm... below... off course and... down. "

Implied Ork AA fire at around 7.5 km

Page 37
..a secessionist guerrilla had hit Wulfe's tank with a shaped-charge explosive. Holtz had been in one of the sponsons. A fine spray of molten metal ..

Shaped charges using motlen metal, not unlike real life ones.

Page 41
Construction of the new Army Group HQ was almost complete, well ahead of schedule thanks to the contributions of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Their abundant technologies, the impressive prefabricated structures they had provided, the unceasing toil of their legions of brain-wiped biomechanical slaves, these things and more had seen the laser-blasted surface of the plateau converted and fortified in record time.

Base facilities for tens of thousands of troops (or more) set up in an unknown but short period of time.. days perhaps, thorugh extensive use of prefab and servitor construction (and AdMech asistance.)

Page 42
At ninety-one years of age, seventy-six of those spent in military service, he looked surprisingly young, no older, in fact, than sixty. The treatments and surgeries he had undergone to achieve this were both expensive and painful, but never unacceptably so.

One of hte less impressive juvenat surgeries ever mentioned.

Page 43
With its high curtain walls, towers topped with Manticore and Hydra anti-air defences, and the broad, extended parapets boasting row after row of Earthshaker artillery platforms..

Defenses of the prefab HQ base.

Page 44
"Drop-ship E44-a, the 116th Cadian Lasgunners, companies one and two, killed on descent. Drop-ship G22-a, the 122nd Tyrok Fusiliers, companies one to four, missing. Drop-ship G41-b, the 88th Mobile Infantry, companies three and four, missing. Drop-ship H17-C, the 303rd Skellas Rifles, companies eight to ten, missing. Drop-ship H19-a, the 98th Mechanised Infantry, companies one to six, missing. Drop-ship K22-C, the 71st Caedus Infantry, companies eight to ten, missing."

Losses on the drop assault from AA fire. They all seem to be different names for Cadian regiments, which is interesting, but the notable thing is the 'mobile infantry'. WHat exactly that means we don't know (yet), and it may not mean 'Starship trooper' context, but it is distinct from mechanised infantry (which are also mentioned.) It could be a scout or recon regiment type for all we know.

Page 45
Men were one thing, and their loss was to be lamented, of course, but life was cheap in the Imperium of Man. There were always more soldiers to be had. That's what the reserves were for. But tanks? Tanks were another matter entirely. There were no replacements waiting in the wings for the war machines that had been lost. Each tank put out of action left a gap that nothing else could fill.

The old saw about 'vehicles more important than men' a claim that often is more claimed than adhered to, depending on circumstances.

Page 45-46
Imperial communications equipment, unreliable at the best of times in the general's long years of experience, was almost useless on Golgotha. According to the tech-priests, there were profound levels of electromagnetic interference from the constant storms that cloaked this world. The Mechanicus contingent attached to the mission had promised a solution in due course, but, for now, communications at any range greater than a dozen kilometres simply degenerated into white noise. Clear communication at even half that distance required the expenditure of significant amounts of electrical power - more than was required to light the base for a whole day - and contact with the fleet in orbit was kept to an absolute minimum by sheer necessity.

Comments on problems with communications (even non-bead vox) on Golgotha. Ranges reduced to a dozen km close to the ground, and half that consumes consideable power. How much is up for debate, but even if we assumed only 1000 10 watt bulbs that would be an easy 10 kw, which for a single day (assuming 12 hour day, and 24 hour day) hundreds of megajoules expended per communication, if not gigajoules.

Page 56
"I'm not sure I approve, major general." Seeing Killian's face redden, he added, "Of troopers reading Michelos, I mean. His work has a very fatalistic bent. Not suitable material for front-line troops. Dreadful recruitment material, too. The way he refers to Guard service as ‘the meat grinder'. If it were up to me, I'd have the text prohibited under article six."
Bergen resisted the urge to roll his eyes. First offences under article six meant the lash. It seemed a little harsh for reading a bit of poetry, he thought.
"Come now, commissar," said Rennkamp. "Isn't it quite popular with the civs?"
"Civilians?" said Morten. "I hardly think so. The last I heard, hivers still prefer their entertainment filled with sex and unstoppable heroes."

A bit of Imperial reading material commentary. For one thing its not unheard of for soldiers to read, especially poetry (one of the themes of the book is a Terraxian Soldier poet who described Golgotha in the prior engagement forty years ago, where Cadian and Terraxian regiments fougth to spare Yarrick capture.) although the mateiral mentioned is not on Commissarial reading list favorites (although not forbidden expressly). 'meat grinder' is not politically acceptable terminology, even when it aptly describes Guard warfare (which it can be... attrition and all that.)
civilians, by contrast, prefer more fanciful stuff full of sex and heroes and probably violence. Like Ciaphas Cain :P

Page 57
Millions of our brother Cadians dead and dying in the Third War of Armageddon, and here he is throwing dinner parties on a world infested with greenskins. What happened to him? There was a time when I looked up to him, a time when he was rock-solid. He's not the same man, now. It's as if some kind of panic or mania has taken over. I can't stand what he's become.

Major General Bergren, the commander of the Division of which the 81st is part of, reflects on his commander and the situation, DeVries. Devries is an old guy (91 as we know) and he's growing increasingly insane, obsessed with his legacy, etc. This passage is interesting as it shows that while DeVries is at fault for a significant part of the grimdark in the story (and the stupidity), he wasn't always that way, and at one point he could be admired. We learn he has no children, no legacy to speka of, and hence the man wants to leave behind a legacy to be remembered by when he dies, which is why he grasps at straws like this (its mentioned that this campaign was avoided by other, more sane commanders as a fool's errand.) - even if it means sacrificing his own men. Bergren, a decent commander, naturally finds this sort of vainglory offensive, and the two wil be butting heads over it.
Also millions of Cadians dying on Third Armageddon, indicating the scale of that portion of the forces alone nevermind the larger forces combined

Page 60-61
"Epinephrine," said Tech-Adept Armadron.
"I'm sorry, adept?" said Bergen.
"And norepinephrine," said Tech-Adept Xephous. "Armadron is correct. Troopers under study showed greatly increased levels of both hormones prior to engagement with the enemy. Sections of the brain may be excised to inhibit this, major general. Our skitarii legions do not experience the problem."

The first one is basically adrenaline, and the second is a stress hormone tied to fight or flight reflex, to put it in somewhat simplified terms. Basically its mentioning that some of the basic hormonal reactions a human (Guard) soldier might face - tied to stress and anxiety (fear even). Something Skitarii have been modified to be immune to. Its mentioned that comfort of Skitarrii is irrelevant, but their efficiency does matter. Typically admech thinking.

PAge 66
There were close to thirty thousand men in Hadron Base: two whole infantry divisions plus his own armoured, each at roughly ten thousand men apiece, not counting the drop-ship losses, and that was excluding the non-combat personnel so essential to basic operations.
Thirty thousand, he decided, was a conservative estimate.

Implied scope of the army force, two infantry and one armoued division At least 10K men per force, possibly more (especially including noncombat forces.) There are 3 divisions.

Page 66
Despite the difficulties inherent in scanning the shrouded surface of the planet, what little data they had suggested that Golgotha still seethed with the foe. Those few probe-servitors that had returned safely had shown that the more temperate regions north and south of the desert were dotted with vast settlements wherever the terrain allowed.

Recon efforts. Orbital scanning and probe servitors, although whether aerial or ground based we dont know.

Page 67
.. its hangars nearing completion and awaiting the arrival of the Vulcan gunships that the commodore had promised.

Vulcan gunships provided by navy.. a 'close support wing' mentioned earlier.

Page 68
There were hundreds of men in rust-coloured fatigues down there, too: troopers from the support echelons hefting ammunition and supplies back and forward, working hard against the clock. Large Guard-issue trucks - the ever-reliable Thirty-Sixers - were being driven into position so that fuel drums and supplies could be hoisted onto them.

Guard trucks. Probably for supplies.

Page 68
Others moved in pairs along the wall, men on patrol duty, occasionally lifting night-vision magnoculars to their eyes and then dropping them again.

Guard aritllerymen with night vision binocs.

Page 69
"My sergeant says it's the atmospheric pressure, sir. Stuff doesn't steam here. Not at normal temperatures, leastwise. He says if it's steaming, it'll put you in the med-block with burns. Can't pretend as I understand it myself, but I'll take his word for it, sir. He's a smart one, is my sarge."

Even in the GRIM DARKNESS of the future, not everyone can be an ignorant superstitous savage.

Page 73
For some, it was the fines - particles of red dust so small that they could penetrate the cell membranes of the human body. The medics said there was little they could do beyond prescribing anti-toxic medication, but the real solution was to get off this blasted planet. The medicines induced short-term vomiting and cramps.

Biological and mechanical hazard on the planet. Rebreathers and goggles (and probably NBC protection of outfits) are needed, and still the crews are at risk. It is a persistant danger throughout the book fro the men, and a contributing factor to the inconsistent performance of machinery.

Page 75
True children would have perished very quickly in such a place - the pungent chemicals that misted the air would have dissolved the tissue of their lungs - but these were not true children. They had once been so, long ago, before extensive surgeries had converted them into ageless amalgams of flesh and metal like the tech-priests they served, though far less sophisticated. Their brains had been cruelly cut, rendering them incapable of independent thought, and their voices had been silenced forever. Their only function was to obey and, as such, they were beyond sin, beyond mischief or evil. Perhaps in recognition of this, their creator had crafted bronze masks for them, faces frozen in beatific smiles, like half-living sculptures of holy cherubim.

Child servitors, wingless. Still creepy.

Page 81-82
He fired his hellpistol into the charging mass of orks, but, squinting through the haze and the sweat that stung his eyes, it was difficult to see the level of damage he was causing.
The air danced with tracer fire as the orks pushed closer, huge pistols and stubbers blazing. The Cadians fired back with deadly intensity, bright las-beams licking out from their sandbagged positions...
Competing with all the noise, most particularly with the deafening crack and stutter of nearby las- and bolter-fire..
The orks were closing. Six hundred metres. Five-ninety. Five-eighty. The Cadians' landmines were barely slowing them.

Cadians are engaging the Orks in excess of 600+ metre ranges iwth lasguns, and the Major's hellpistol (although probably not accurately, he can still hit shit by virtue of the sheer numbers. Its still lethal at that range, obviously.) Even ignoring the hellpistol example (which may be depending on examples more like a small carbine or rifle itself... hellpistols are weird beasts) we know that Hellguns alternately have longer or shortre ranges than lasguns (depending on source.) Old FFG stuf (DH Inquistiors Handbook, Rogue Trader) went with 'slightly longer range', whilst Only War, Black crusade and DH Acension had hellgusn shorter ranged (anywhere from 50-60% of the range of a lasgun), whilst in 5th/6th edition they had liek 75% the range of a lasgun (18 vs 24" IIRC) We know the Kasrkin are using hellguns here, so we could figure a comparable lasgun range of anywhere from 800-1000 m by that alone. Moreover, we know from Rebel Winter and other sources that Orks actually are tougher targets than normal humans, and thus reduce effective ranges anyhow. Weather was also a factor in halving range in Rebel winter, but given its unlikely we're facign arctic conditions here we can't say how much target nature and how much weather made up that combined variation. We could (probably) say the implied upper limit range on lasfire is 1600-2000 m definitely, but since that assumes cold weather conditions as well as orks it would without a doubt be less. Mind you if we went by hellpistol calcs the range would probably be like 2-3x greater alone (1200-1800m) nevermidning the Ork thing, so it can be looked at multiple ways.
Also note that like with every example actual range will depend as much on accuracy as lethalty. Lasweapons are known to consistnetly be able to wound targets at 1-2 km range (for rifles and carbines.. pistols can have hundreds of metres though) but not neccesarsily be accurate at that range.. and accuracy is quite variable.
It also implies range for bolt fire of at least 600m. Orks also return fire at this range with their shootas/stubber/sluggas, although accuracy is probably less.

Page 82
We should have virus-bombed it from space. That would have been poetic justice in that - revenge for all the people Thraka's asteroids have killed. If it weren't for Yarrick's damned tank...

Implying that Virus bombs existed to blast the planet, but their orders to take the tank means inefficient ground warfare. Proof yet again that politics often dictates ground engagements as much or more than necessity.

Page 83
As he fired shot after flesh-searing shot into the charging xenos horde..

Major continuing to fire his hellpistol, indiactive of the severeity of its thermal damage.

Page 83
Some of the regiment's Chimeras and halftracks had survived the crash and were entrenched behind walls of compacted sand and steel, adding their considerable firepower to the desperate battle. The Chimeras' hull-mounted heavy bolters chattered deep and low, ripping the enemy into bloody hunks of meat with their explosive ammunition. Turret-mounted multi-lasers hissed and cracked, scoring the air with blinding brightness.

The 98th Mechnanized Infantry regiment (or part of it at least) has Half tracks and Chimeras, both of hwich carry weapons (heavy bolters and multilasers it seems.) Ironically, its implied that the 98th's drop ship was big enough to carry the entire regiment, or at least several companies plus their vehicles, meaning they were larger than the company-sized dropships the 81st were using.

Page 84
A few of the Chimeras boasted autocannon as their main armament, their long barrels chambered for powerful thirty-millimetre rounds. They made a harsh chugging sound as they spewed shells out in devastating torrents. Over-muscled brown bodies dissolved into scraps and tatters wherever the autocannon found their mark.

Chimera alternate weapons, 30mm autocannon. Interesting that it also implies said autocannons more effective than multilasers (sustained ROF) A 30mm autocannon has at least 200 kj of ke, and 380-400 kg*m/s of momentum depending on exact projectile mass/velocity. Assuming a 4-10 round per second estimate (based on RL autocannons for vehicles) we can figure around 800-2000 kw sustained firepower.
Projectile wise? If we figure a single second of fire blows apart multiple ork bodies. If one or two rounds for a single ork thats at least several grenades worth at a guess (given Orks are many times heavier and tougher than normal humans - this book mentions later 3-4x normal person) which means each shell is probably worth at least a couple grenades explosively.. which is powerful for 30mm rounds.

Page 84
Thick spears of lascannon fire blazed down from atop the crumpled hull of the drop-ship. The ship's cockpit had folded like a concertina in the crash and the flight crew had been killed outright, but a handful of navy ratings - tech-crew mostly - had survived. They had been insistent about manning the ship's turrets, only a few of which still functioned.

The Drop ship has weapons of its own.. many more than 'a few' lascannon turrets, at least. Useful in landing zones, like situations like this

Page 84
Despite such thoughts, he was glad to have those turrets manned by anyone. They poured blistering fire down on top of the orks, killing dozens at a time, charring their bodies to shrunken black husks.

Implied devastation of lascannon turrets. We dont know how many there are or how many shots to do it, but it implies at least single digit MJ per shot per Ork, easily.

Page 85
His hellpistol clicked, another cell spent. On reflex, he hit the power-pack release, let the magazine fall to the ground, tore a fresh one from a pouch on his belt, slammed it home and resumed firing. His first shot left a smoking black hole where one monster's ugly face had been. That he could now see the damage his shots were causing was not a good sign.

First, hellpistol is not running on a back or belt pack source, but clips, and they're disposable clips. Secondly, the shot blackens the flesh of a Orks face, meaning it probably blasted the head apart partly. Double digit kj more than likely for the crater. If we assume 3rd or 4th degree burns over a 20x20 cm area (300-400 sq cm) we'd be talking between 15-20 kj at least (3rd degree) to 120-160 kj for 4th degree.

Page 87
The large-bore weapons made a real mess of their victims, barking as loud as any bolter, throwing massive metal slugs out in every direction. The orks barely bothered to aim, spraying fire left and right without a thought for accuracy or wasted ammunition. It was only the sheer volume of fire that took such a deadly toll. As the Cadians raced back to the inner defences, many fell screaming, great ragged holes punched into their backs, exit wounds the size of watermelons exploding from their chests and stomachs. Others, more fortunate only in that they suffered less, were struck in the back of the head. Even good, solid Cadian Mark VIII helmets couldn't protect them. Their skulls practically exploded with the impact of the heavy ork slugs, and their headless bodies stumbled and fell, gushing crimson on the sand.

Effect of Ork gunfire on Cadian Troops. Armour doesn't seem to be doing much against the blasts, although its not easily quantified. since Ork gunfire can vary in calibre, performance, etc. although given headshots also headsplode its probably indicative most body armour isn't stpping them. Of course given the size and nature of Ork weaponry this is hardly surprising.

Page 88
"Tell those spacer runts in the las-turrets that I want focused fire on that artillery. Those Navy dogs are the only ones with a clear line of sight. Do it, man!"
The turret-gunners atop the crumpled drop-ship were already traversing their turrets to zero in on several massive ork machines - self-propelled guns that were emerging from a dust cloud about fifteen hundred metres away. The SPGs had short, fat barrels that sacrificed accuracy for a higher explosive payload.

Lascannon turrets on dropship have range of at least 1500 m, which is also the range of the Ork SPG at least.

Page 89
"The next bloody salvo will do for us. Can't we get any of our heavy weapons on them? What about our mortar teams? They're all we have left that doesn't need line of sight."

Heavy weapons (and at least Mortars) have a possible range of 1.5 km on Ork artillery. small arms don't which puts an upper limit (in this context) on their range.

Page 90
In Stromm's earpiece, the vox-chatter from his surviving platoon leaders had degenerated into a cacophony of panicked shouts.

Regimental major has vox bead. at least. Possibly the platoons do as well.

Page 90
It took six men firing lasguns at close range to put that bastard down.

Six lasguns firing at close range to down a very large, tough (probably Veteran) Ork.

Page 92
Only a few hundred metres, now, until the orks were in among them. Mere moments until the fighting became hand-to-hand. At that range, the greenskins' massive physiologies would allow them to rip through the Cadians like wet paper. Only the mighty Kasrkin storm troopers, of which Stromm had started with a single company and now had less than three full platoons, had any chance in close quarters, and, even then, not much of one.

Still firing on the orks even 200-300 (or so) metres away, including with hellpistol as noted before. This is noted as 'close range' against Orks.
Also note a KAsrkin company (meaning the Regimetn has many more infantry companies than 2, probably twice that at least) has at least 3 platoons.
Also Kasrkin are the only ones with a chance close up against Orks, and even then its not a good one (But still better than infantry.) Which goes to show why bayonet charges are ALWAYS done with the Guard against EVERY enemy! :P

Page 93
As it closed, it raised its massive stubber with a single hand and fired a burst that caught the colonel on the right shoulder. His tough armaplas body-armour was enough to deflect the shot, but the impact threw him from his feet. He landed on the red sand with a grunt. The force of the bullet's impact had broken his arm, and the banner fell from his hands.

Major's body armour. It could be a glancing shot rahter than full on (like the hits against other Cadian body armour) or it may be officer grade armour (partial carapace), or it may even be both, but this particular Cadian body armour resists penetration and deflects the shot, although the hseer force/momentum still shatters bone.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-30 09:32am

Part 2

Page 94-95
..the air suddenly filled once again with the deafening boom of big guns. Stromm tensed, guessing the ork artillery crews had decided to fire after all, whether they killed their foul kin or not. He girded himself for the explosive blast that would bring an end to his life any second now.
Any second...
But it never came. There was no ear-splitting whistle overhead.
"Not the blasted orks, man! Imperial tanks! Leman Russ battle tanks inbound from the west!"
"Their artillery!" voxed another platoon leader. "The ork SPGs are burning. All of them. Junked!"

The SPGs are north of the 98th, and the Gunheads come in from the west. We know before that the SPGs were 1.5 km away, and we know the Gunheads are more than a km away (how much more we dont know) whilst opening fire with main guns. Thats at least 1.8 km in this case, and it takes a second or two for the shot to hit implied above. Around 900-1800 m/s suggested as velocity, which is consistent with implications later as well as from other novels (EG Honour Guard, Sabbat MArtyr, etc.)

Page 98
"Keep your main guns blazing. I want secondary weapons on those hostiles as soon as you make range."
A stutter of cannon fire from the tanks on either side was answer enough for him. Up ahead, still more than a kilometre away, but closer with every passing second, pillars of sand and gore burst into the air. Firing on the move meant a big trade-off in accuracy for the gunners, but, given the sheer number of gargantuan brown-bodies in front of them, they could afford to be sloppy. What they couldn't afford to be was slow.
As his tanks crossed the one kilometre line, he gripped the pintle-mounted heavy bolter in front of him and made ready to open fire.

Secondary weapons (sponson heavy bolters, autocannon, heavy stubbers) have an effective range of 1 km against Orks from a moving tank. Battle cannon have considerably more range.

Page 99-100
His machine, Foe-Breaker, was a rare and highly prized Leman Russ Vanquisher from the forges of Ryza. She was hundreds of years old - the saints alone knew how many kills she'd made since her inception - but she still excelled at taking out enemy machines with her 120mm smooth-bore cannon and its highly specialised, armour-piercing sabot rounds. No other Leman Russ could fire as far and as accurately..

Ryza makes Vanquishers, along with Gryphonne IV, Stygies VIII and Tigrus. Also a 120mm smoothbore tank gun, using saboted AP rounds that improve range and accuracy over standard battle cannon ammo.

page 100
Van Droi's loader - a grumpy little short-arse by the name of Waller - was still slamming high-explosive shells into the main gun's breech with all the speed he could manage, and Dietz wasn't wasting them. Every time the gun belched, scores of orks disintegrated, turned into a downpour of red rain that muddied the desert sand.

Vanquisher Hi-EX rounds blow apart scores of Orks with each shot. Given orks in this book are stated to be 3-4x bigger than normal people, we figure thats at least equal to dozens if not hundreds of grenades (120-160 estimated by 'scores' at least being 40) Considering the He round must weigh around 15-20 kg tops, and thats equal to 30-40 kg of TNT equivalent implied, they're considerably more powereful than 'normal' TNT.

Page 100
In lethal range, he pulled the heavy bolter's trigger back and loosed a flood of explosive shells.
The recoil was wicked, too, despite much of it being absorbed by the pintle-mount. The gun kicked hard in his hands, pouring spent cartridges from its ejector like brass rain.

Heavy bolter with recoil AND CASINGS :P 1 km or so is deifned as a heavy bolter's 'lethal' range as well.

Page 104
There was a deafening rattle as the stubber unloaded on the alien horde, cutting dozens of them to pieces.
The bulky alien savages appeared to dance a deathly jig as they were literally chewed apart by the hail of lead.

HEavy stubber vs Orks. Implies high ROF, powerful rounds or probably both.

Page 105
Last Rites II, like so many other Leman Russ tanks, boasted a co-axial autocannon that could chew infantry and light armour apart with ease, allowing the gunner to spare the precious, limited ammunition of the main gun.

Coaxial autocannon for light vehicles and infantry. Probably suggests something like 25-40mm calibre, approximately.

Page 107
But he saw the ork's weapon hand disintegrate in a bloody mist, followed almost immediately by its massive, razor-toothed head. It burst like a rotten fruit, and he felt the monster's foul blood spray over his face and fatigues like hot rain.

Heavy stubber again. Probably equal to .50 cal or so given its an Ork head we're talking about.

Page 108
What kind of madness made men march to battle without at least a hundred millimetres of solid armour between them and the foe? Little wonder that the life of an infantryman was so short. One way or another, most died within their first six months of combat duty. The average for tankers was almost double. He knew some men resented that, but it was tanks and their crews that drew most fire on the battlefield.

Tanker vs Infantryman. That's orders of magnitude (literally) better than the 'fifteen hours' implied in the novel of the same name, of course (4320 hours vs 15 hours... no contest.) but it may just go to show that life expectancy for military forces is as variable as every other facet. Kriegers and conscripts aren't going to be the same as high tier regiments like the Cadians, Elysians, etc.

Page 109
.. Wulfe judged that there wasn't much more than a company's worth of men left standing: two hundred, maybe three.

Estimated size of a CAdian company.

Page 109
The Kasrkin were a special breed. He wondered what it took to remain so cool-headed, surrounded by all that death and horror, by alien savages that outweighed you three or four times.

Again Kasrkin are badass, even against Orks . also orks weighing 3-4x more than a normal person. If we figure 70 kg or so for 'normal' we're tlaking between 200-300 kg estimated.

Page 110
Like tankers, the Kasrkin drew a certain level of resentment from standard infantrymen. They received special training and superior kit, and commanders tended not to waste them in wars of attrition when there were other options available.

Again, however much this may be a drawback, the Imperium rates troopers qualitatively differently from regiment to regiment and specialty to specialty. 'elite' forces like Grenadiers, storm troopers, Drop troops, Armoured and mechanized forces are obviously more valuable than conscripts, and this is one of the prime things that will (in theory) dictate their usage (And how attritional it is.) Of course this is hardly absolute, as politics (such as with the Ghosts), or perceived necessity (any stupid battle oyu care to name, eg many of the Forge World conflicts like Taros or KAstroel-Novem) will mean forces may be used in ways the yaren't intended (including attirtional.)

Page 115
The drop-ship that had carried six companies of The Fighting 98th to Golgotha was in a sorry state, even worse than the one that had carried van Droi's Gunheads.

Mechanised infantry dropship had six companies, instead of one armoued company. That, givne the mention of 'company' sizes before could mean in excess of a thousand men, perhaps up to twice that, plus their vehicles. One company of which iwll also be Kasrkin (one man in six for Cadians, which is roughly consistent with what I estimated from other sources.)

Page 116
Siemens' death weighed heavy on him. Ten tanks had become nine. A full crew had been lost.

Tenth company had ten tanks. Assuming thats an averag,e thats 100 tnaks for the 81st Regiment mplied. If we figure between 3-4 tanks per squadron and 3-4 squadrons per company, thats between 9-16 which would for a 10 company regiment be 90-160 tanks.

Page 118
" So, I don't want you to think of me as pulling rank-"
"But you want to fold us into your unit," said van Droi, finishing the thought. He had anticipated this. It made sense.
"Just for the time being, and for the sake of having a clear command structure more than anything else."
"No complaints here. Tanks and infantry work a lot better together than they do apart."

An interesting turn of events, given that we learn in the Ghosts novels (Necropolis) that armour is subordinate to infantry. This does not seem to be the case here, at least in the CAdian forces. Again, military commands can be variable.\

Page 119
"Let's talk about numbers. What exactly are you fielding?"
"Nine tanks, all Leman Russ variants, all crewed, plus four Heracles halftracks and eight trucks. Five of those are packed with ammunition and supplies. Most of our personnel are crammed into the halftracks."
"How many personnel?" asked Stromm.
"One hundred and twenty-nine, sir. Forty of those are tank crew. The rest are reserve crews and battlefield support. Half a dozen are wounded men, two of which are critical."

The (current) makeup of the 10th comapny of the 81st. They had 200 at the start so they took 70 casualties. If we figure the ratios hold consistent (40 tankers and 89 support/reserve) would be 62 or so tankers and 138 reserve/support. With 40 tankers and 9 tanks, and over half in the half tracks (but less than the full, we can figure each half track carries between 12 and 20 men probably. We learn that many Cadian regiments in this book use half tracks, including the mechanized as well as armoued.

Page 119
"We have a few Chimeras, mostly machines from the Kasrkin Armoured Fist squads, and a couple of halftracks and trucks. Seventy per cent of our vehicles were wrecked in the crash."

Figure at least Given the numbers implied before they have to have at least scores/hundreds of vehicles to encompass the complements implied before (6 companies worth.)

Page 123
Moving closer to the black husk of the tank, Wulfe saw again the two great gouges in her side. The armour plating had melted around the wounds, creating a jutting lip of metal under each. He stretched out a hand and found that the metal was cool to the touch.
Walking around to her other side, he found another hole. She had been hit simultaneously on both flanks with three separate impacts. The weapons that had killed her had been rocket-propelled grenades with shaped charges. The implications were grim. Over more than two decades of battle, Wulfe had faced the full gamut of antitank weapons, from magnetic mines to man-portable lascannons. He had seen shaped charges employed by armies of rebels and heretics all too often, but he had never seen orks field them. He had seen them use simple rockets sometimes, but this was different. Here was a weapon that, with a jet of molten copper, made a mockery of armour up to two hundred millimetres thick.

This may sound less impressive given its a shaped charge akin to what we use but there are certain things to remember.

1.) Orks, despite generally being less primiritve, also tend to be alot more massive/stronger and can heft and use much heavire weaponry than normal humans. we can easily figure at least several times greater than a modern equivalent RPG in terms of effectiveness. If we use an RPG 7 as a baselines armour penetration for a shaped charge could be anywhre feorm 260mm to 750mm RHA penetration IF the Orks is several times bettwe w're talking eaisly 500-750mm at least, to several thousand mm penetration potentially... which is equivalent to 200mm hull implied... although thats odd given that the flak armour on a russ (even noted in this novel) is typically 150mm. Maybe this russ had heavier armour than usual.. hard to say. Or its a mistype. Anyhow, there's lots of room for intepretation, and still seems pretty damn impressive all told.
funny enough the armour is literally melted. I'm not sure if thats from the effect of the hypervelocity jet or if it literally melted.. could go either way I suppose.

Page 125-126
..he knew troopers who traded the tusks for packets of smokes and bottles of alcohol. There was usually at least one man in a regiment who could fashion them into charms or trinkets. Sometimes, depending on the planet, civilian traders would offer a high price for them. It was illegal, of course, under the alien artefact laws.

Looting of alien corpses for artefacts, whilst profitable, is illegal in the Guard.

Page 131
...yelled Bergen into the tiny microphone of his vox-bead.

Divisional commander has vox beads too.

Page 134
One of Marrenburg's mechanised infantry companies, ten Chimeras each carrying a squad of hardened infantrymen, was trying to press forward in support of the troopers on foot.

Mechanised Infnatnry companry of just 100 troops.

Page 135
Bergen saw two of the Chimeras struck head on, one of them hit so hard that it flipped onto its back. He saw the rear hatch open.
With a great boom and a mushrooming of fire and smoke, the Chimera lifted into the air. Only two of the troopers managed to escape the blast.
The other Chimera was luckier. The cockpit was aflame, the driver certainly dead, but the hatch at the back had been thrown wide, and the soldiers within were pouring out, lasguns up and ready.
The other two ork machines were still closing on the no-longer-mechanised infantry. The soldiers fired on them in tight, ordered volleys, but it was futile. Las-bolts smacked harmlessly against thick red armour. A second later, however, the three Leman Russ fired again. The ork machines were struck hard, skidding sideways on their treads before halting. Greenskins started to bail out, some of them already howling as flames licked their leathery brown flesh. The Cadian infantrymen moved straight in, pouring las-fire onto the ork crews, cutting them down, blazing away on full charge until there was little left but smoking black hunks of meat.

Two interesting calcs here. First, three Russes fire on two looted Ork vehicles (looted Imperial vehicles its implied in the text) and send them knocking sideways. We dont knwo what kind of looted vehicles, but if we guess at least a Chimera or Rhino (30-40 tons) and at least half a m/s of velcoit yimparted (enough to skid maybe a metre or so sideways at least?) and all 3 hit we're talking mabye 10-20,000 kg*m/s worth of momentum per shell (mass x velocity) apiece. It could be higher, of course (A russ would be 30-40,000 kg*m/s or so at least) but again its largely conjectural. It does suggest farily heavy/fast rounds though, which is consistent throughout this source (the implied velocities, the shell/projectile size, the recoil, etc.)
The second calc is that the Ork crews of the vehicles (figure 2-3 greenskins each) each basically get shredded by the gunfire of the surviving two Chimera crews. TWo guys from one, plus 10 from another (possibly plus the drivers) means 12-14 men with lasguns vs 4-6 orks. Now, calcing it is interesting. The simple way is the 'grenade' thing again. one grenade to more or less blow a person apart, and that means 3-4 grenades per Ork maybe. With 4-6 orks thats 12-24 grenades, which works out to ~12-24 MJ. If we figure 100 shots per trooper thats 1200-1400 shots (assuming no relaods, but treat as order of magntiude calc) and 8.6 kj to 17.5 kj per shot roughly. If we go with 150 shots you can adjust that to 2/3 the estimated firepower (5-12 kj per shot roughly) This is more 'explody'.
If we figure by using 3rd to 4th degree 'flash burns' (50-400 j per sq cm) we can get more or less conservative calcs depending on which. Figure 20,000 sq cm per ork ( and possibly on both sides) you get at least 1-2 MJ for 3rd degree burns whilst 4th is 8-16 MJ per ork. Totals out to between 4 and a whoppign 96 MJ over 1400 shots at 4 MJ (just for burns) it would be 'only' 2.8 kj per shot, but that would also only reflect thermal damage, whilst on the other end you could get 80 kj per shot (which is possible,b ut I'm thinking its more of a 'heat ray' type weapon than blaster, which expalins the increase in energy.) Overall though, we can broadly say the calcs do fit into the 'single/double digit' kj dynamic at the very least for 'blaster/explody' damage style, and perhaps double to triple digit for thermal/heat ray type damage weapons.

Page 138
She was a Shadowsword super-heavy tank, ancient and deadly, but her Volcano cannon, with its nine-metre barrel, had originally been designed for felling traitor Titans and the like.

Cadian Shadowsword, Angel of the Apocalypse.

Page 139-140
..He immediately panned his glasses towards Vinnemann's Shadowsword and saw a white glow forming at the muzzle of her huge cannon. Knowing what was to come, he turned his eyes towards the black artillery pieces by the outpost gates. Over-muscled greenskin gunnery crews were hefting shells the size of oil drums into the breech of each huge gun..
There was an almighty crack, like a clap of thunder, so close that Bergen felt it resonate deep in his bones. Everything in the area outside the outpost's main gates was engulfed in blinding white light. Bergen thought he saw the shot hit the row of greenskin war machines at an angle, cutting across them diagonally, but he could only watch for a fraction of a second. Looking directly at the beam was painful, and he squeezed his eyes shut.
A glowing afterimage of the Volcano's lethal beam remained behind his eyelids. When he opened his eyes again, he saw that a good number of the enemy machines had ceased to exist. Bubbling pools of liquid metal were the only trace left. Others, though not struck directly, would no longer be firing on his men. Their crews had been roasted to ash. The raw heat of the Volcano beam striking the neighbouring guns was simply too intense to survive.

Volcano cannon in action. It reduces multiple Ork artillery vehicles to melting/boiling. We dont know hwo big they are or what kind, or how many (except its multiple) but we're talking at least tens if not hundreds of tons apiece, which means tens of gigajoules at least per vehicle, and probably hundreds. (boiling point alone would probably almost double the energy input) Cremating multiple guns as a side effect is probably single double digit GJ as well, as we're talking several orks per crew (carrying oil drum sized shells I might add, 55 gal type probably) and each is many times bigger than a human (3-4x at least) and thats merely side effects of the beam.

page 140
"Thank you, sir. Great to fire up the old Volcano cannon again after so long. She's drained the tanks, though. And we lost two capacitors. We'll need a Trojan over here for a refuel."

The Shadowsword has more than 3 capacitors, probably more than 4. Also the single shot drained the tanks, so to speak. Given what we learn in Haley's 'Baneblade' novel (multiple 4-terawatt capacitors) That woul dimply the beam itself is probably at least 12-16 terawatts total, at a minimum.

Page 144
He judged the fallen warboss to be at least two and a half metres tall, and not much less from shoulder to shoulder if one included the hunks of iron plate that had been bolted together to form its crude armour. It would have needed to hunch over just to fit inside the building, but then, orks tended to hunch anyway due to the massive slabs of overdeveloped muscle that covered their bodies.

Size of Ork Warboss.

Page 144-145
"The tech-priests have been laying cables under the sand all the way here, a kind of landline that they insist will do the job. Tech-Adept Armadron has promised to brief us fully once the system is operational. It'll save us having to send any more runners all the way back to Hadron to communicate with the general."

use of land lines to get around vox difficulties.

Page 145
Hornet motorcycles were a variant of the old standard-issue Blackshadow bikes. They were noisy, unarmed, and unarmoured, but they were the fastest machines available to 10th Division. Excepting for any problems, Bergen expected the couriers to reach Army Group HQ the following day.

range and performance of scout cycles used by Cadians.

PAge 148
A crackle of sound in Bergen's right ear announced a short-range vox-transmission just a fraction of a second before Colonel Graves' voice said, "Graves to Division Command. Are you there, sir?"
Bergen tapped a finger on the transmit stud of his vox-bead and replied, "Bergen, here. Go ahead, Darrik."

More vox bead stuffs.

Page 150
.. the route between Hadron Base and the site of the objective - had been retaken by the 12th Heavy Infantry Division under Major General Killian.

Cadian heavy infantry.

Page 155-156
Van Droi knew his tanks were slowing the whole column down. The Chimeras were much faster, and the Thirty-Sixers were faster still at top speed, but without the tanks, the column would have made an easy target for greenskin marauders. Colonel Stromm kept everyone moving together, with the exception of the Chimeras he sent to scout ahead in shifts. Did it frustrate him that the Leman Russ could barely manage thirty kilometres an hour? wondered van Droi.

Chimeras and trucks (and probably half tracks) faster than Russes.. although considering forge world stats (or worse) 30kph off road, on a world with heavier gravity than earth in the adverse enviromental conditions they suffer.. is actually pretty damn impressive. Contrasted iwth 18-21 kph off road by Forge world standards. Remember that the 10th company has at least one Vanquisher, which would be the slowest tank in the bunch at that. That would imply the tanks can normally pull close to 40+ km/hr off road

Page 157
The mood got even worse when Stromm had his lieutenants issue empty jerry cans and additional water purification tablets to everyone. If they wanted to survive beyond the next few days, he told them, they would have to drink the undrinkable. They would have to drink their own urine.

Could be worse. At least there's no eating corpses.

Page 164
He wished he had a vox-amp handy. The bead he wore in his right ear linked him to his tank commanders, but the crews didn't wear such advanced tech. They took their orders through their tanks' intercom systems.

Tank commanders (or at least the company commander) has a vox bead, but the crews dont, relying on interocms. Makes a certain amount of sense, since tanks will normally have their own comm systems as a rule.

Page 177
For all the reliability of the Leman Russ - a design that had barely changed in many thousands of years - the turret basket was still a dangerous place to be. The centre of the hot, cramped, noisy little space was usually dominated by the huge mechanism of the main gun. On one side of this sat the gunner, on the other sat the loader. Close behind the gunner, the commander sat within easy reach of everything he needed: maps, comms equipment, small arms and more. What made it so dangerous were the stowage boxes bolted to every surface, their metal edges and corners responsible for more wounds than enemy fire. The locking levers for the hatches weren't much better. They stuck out like blunted metal barbs. Veterans got used to this and reported fewer injuries with each passing year of service, but the new meat learned the hard way.

Internal layout (and dangers) of a Leman Russ tank.

Page 179
Muller's tank lay belly up at the bottom of a two-hundred-metre drop, and van Droi knew as soon as he saw her that the chances of any of Muller's men surviving were next to none.
The barrel of the main gun was crumpled and bent, and the secondary weapons had suffered such an impact that pieces of them lay scattered around the inverted hull.
Her turret wasn't even visible, buried deep in sand and loose rock. No one would be crawling from its hatches.

I was once told by Thanatos long ago this was actually quite impressive as a durability feat for a tank, surviving a 200 m fall onto its turret, even iwth the damag eit suffers. Especially since one guy technically did survive (albeit hurt.) Beyond that I'm not sreally sure how to assess it :P

PAge 188
"I'm sure the Officio Logistica has taken our supply needs into consideration,"

Logistical bureau.

PAge 208
He had rolled the sleeves of his red field-tunic up to reveal heavily tattooed forearms but, if any of the tats were hive-ganger symbols from his life back on Cadia, Wulfe didn't recognise them. That didn't mean much, of course. There were literally tens of thousands of gangs in the vast, crowded fortress-hives where the men of Exolon had been raised.

Apparnetly by this novel, Cadia qualifies as a kind of hive world, and the fortress worlds are hives. Which means they can have their own underhive gangers as well as others. Whether we consider this true or not is up for debate, but its not that unsurprising. Most underhivers and hivers are pretty warlike too. (Gunmetal city, anyone?)

Page 216
The bolt punched a coin-sized hole in the ork's skull and detonated there, showering the closest men with a foul spray of blood and brain matter. The men behind them, shielded from the spray by their luckless comrades, laughed out loud. The headless ork body slid down to the floor of its cage.

Bolt pistol round on an Ork, from a commissar. We dont know what kind of coin, so the actual diameter could vary and there are lots of coins by nation and such. If we use the US as an example diameters (hilariosuly) go between 19mm (estimated bolter caliber usually) for the penny and 30mm for the half dollar (which is bigger than the purported size for heavy bolter rounds.) Of course unless you're highly selective with sources, we already have long established calibres and such for bolt weapons (not to mention effects) are variable.
Also since its an Ork headsplosion, we can note that its more impressive than mere human headsplosion by several times easily. In this novel, at least 3-4 times given the estimated mass differnece between humans and Orks (given a 4.5-5 kg head, we're easily talking analogues to blowing out a human torso, one might add.)

Page 234
Siegler was dozing in his seat, thick arms folded on top of the shell magazine, head resting in the crook of his elbow. By the glow of the turret's internal lamps, Beans was leafing through a tattered magazine featuring monochrome picts of hard-faced Cadian women stripping out of military uniform. Judging by the state of the pages, the magazine had had a great many owners over the years.

Cadian pornography. NRA approved.

Page 235
" The officers might have all the official power in the Guard, but it's guys like Lenck that control the shadows. Every regiment has them, right? The guys who can get you more booze, more smokes, more meds." He held up his shabby, pornographic pictomag. "More stuff like this. They make a business of it, and the officers let it go on because the men grumble a little less. Fewer fights break out. I can't imagine Guard life without such guys, can you? Well, that's Lenck. If the price is right, he can get just about anything. He's more like a hive-gang boss than a soldier. And he thinks you're out to shut him down."
Wulfe knew all this, of course. Beans was still a relative newcomer to the regiment, but he clearly had a good handle on things. Everything he had said was true. Regiments needed their hustlers and fixers. Things became unbearable all too fast without them. It explained a lot about Lenck's mysterious popularity with the newer guys.

Like the 'camp followers' of the Ghosts novels, or so many other 'theroy vs practice' unofifical things that can crop up in a Guard reigment, we seem to get the whole 'gray/black' market aspects that may be tolerated for the 'regimental good' as a means fo blowing off steam and keeping the men occupied/happy. Even amongst Cadians, it would seem. Hardly seems surprising, since the Munitorum can hardly be relied upon to be human beings :P
We know from the BFG and Maxima borusa's example that some Navy warhsips may tolerate this as well, for similar reasons.
One imagines such people may also have a useful secondary benefit in scrounging and otherwise indirect acquisition from the Munitorum and logistical chains at need.

Page 238
"It's colossal. How could the probe-servitors possibly have missed something like this? Get those tech-priests in here. "

Probe-servitors again for recon purposes.

Page 238-239
The ork wall was easily a hundred metres tall. Throne knew how long it was. It was breathtaking in its scale. It was plated with great metal slabs of armour painted red from top to bottom, and decorated with oversized ork glyphs daubed crudely in white. There were sharp, uneven crenellations all along the battlements, and the barrels of huge cannon could be seen thrusting outwards from behind them.
There were vast iron gates, as tall as the wall itself, spaced at intervals all along its length, but none were open. They looked very heavy, very solid.
"There hasn't been time to properly reconnoitre it yet, sir," said Bergen. "The Vulcan pilots say they're awaiting your order to go up, if that's what you want. There might be a way around it. Best estimates at this time suggest it's over a hundred kilometres long, though."
The sheer size of the wall suggested it might have been built to keep out Titans. A foolish notion, of course. Nothing could keep out a Titan for long,

Great Wall of Orkdom. at least 100 km long, 100 m tall (including gates) and heavily armed/armoueed. Also mention of the Vulcan pilots again. Also implied it might be meant to be titan scale defense,s but would fail at such.

Page 241
Whatever lay inside must have been of great value to the greenskins, for they had expended tremendous resources in its construction, resources that might otherwise have gone into the construction of hundreds, if not thousands, of their war machines.

Implied scale of Ork Materials usage. We dont know how many 'thousands' is but it implies many tens or hundreds of thousands fo tons of materials used at least.. just for that wall. Probably more than that. not much compared to the scale of starships of course, but its a very neat wall all told. :P

Page 242
Bussmann reported large amounts of artillery present on the parapets. Some of the barrels he had seen extending out from between the wall's teeth were unnervingly broad, chambered for rounds of such size they might have been more at home on the prow of an interstellar battleship.

Scale of Ork artillery. Mind that 'battleship scale' rounds does not mean 'battleship power' weapons per se, as the conditions for orbital bombardment or ground attack aren't the same as space warfare. It only implies 'battleship grade' shells in size of osme kind, but Battelships are hardly known for uniform armaments either.

Page 244
The intelligence guiding the mission had been sketchy from the beginning - a patchwork of Mechanicus probe data, military maps dating back forty years, and Officio Strategos guesswork - but Bergen had never been so sharply aware of the entire mission's freewheeling, underpinned nature as he was right now.

Intel assets for the mission - probe data (admech provided, probably the probe servitors), and alot of guesswork and old maps.... and this is considered poor quality we might add.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Imperial Guard novel analysis/discussion thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-30 09:34am

Last update, plus waiting Death short story.

Page 247
When the orks spotted Angel of the Apocalypse sitting out there on the sand, they would hit her with everything they had. She was one hell of a target, easily three times the size of the vehicles that would be escorting her, and, just like at Karavassa, she would be utterly immobile while her capacitors charged for firing. The blast from her Volcano cannon would draw every ork eye on the wall to her, and after the shot, the crew would need valuable seconds to switch the generator back over to power the treads again.

Size differences between Shadowsword and Russes, and the drawbacks of the superheavy. It takes 'seconds' to swithc back from firing mode to driving, and seconds to switch back and charge up for the shot.

Page 250
There was still some way to go before the Cadians entered effective firing range. Even in Golgotha's gravity, a standard Leman Russ battle cannon could take out targets at a distance of over two kilometres but the ork artillery was pounding them from twice that. Closing the gap at speed was paramount.

Range of Battle cannon within gravity. This isn't an absolute by any means, as we noted earlier conditions affected range due to both trajectory AND firing distance (so range is probably alot less.) Only war implies ranges anywhere from 2-5 km depending on interpretation and source, Assault on Black Reach mentions 2.3 km for battle cannons. We know Conqueorros have a range of a km or two from Honour Guard (as do demolishers.), we know enemy tanks in Necropolis had ranges (Against fixed targets) of 4-5 km, and 1 km was considered 'point blank' in armour terms. We also know from Inferno magazine's Demolisher layout, and the novel 'Fallen Angels' that )(anti armour) lascannon can have an effective range of at least 2 km. And then there are occasional examples where Russes and similar are used for bombardment like impromptu artillery, which can imply mortar or even howitzer like ranges :P
Overall, range when it comes to battle cannon is highly speculative depending on context. The Imperium does not face any one kind of enemy, and what works against Chaos or Heretic troops (which might use Imperial equipment or close analgoues) won't work for ORks or Tyranids, or against Eldar or Tau. Same with the types of ammo really, the sheer diversity in threats and nature of targets can mean that performance can vary wildly even when you don't factor in varying tech levels the Imperium faces. When you do factor it in, you can consider that weapon quality and design, the nature and quality of targeting systems (or lack thereof) and so on and so forth can also affect it.
This is more useful as a roughly contextual estimate rather than an absolute, and it caps ranges we might derive from other examples. In its defense, it is consistent with other known sources. :P
I'm not sure quite how to go about compensating for trajectory and firing distance, but at the very least I'm figuring that on a earthlike world it might be 2.3-2.5 km at least, probably more.
Oh and Wall guns have range of twice that, meaning 4 km range.

Page 251-252
"I want this crate ready to fire the moment we make range," said Wulfe. "High explosives. We've got to take out those wall-guns so the infantry don't get minced following us in."
Up ahead and to the left, some of the tanks from the other companies had pressed forward into firing range, and their guns began to answer the orks'. The tanks were travelling too fast to fire with any real accuracy, but Wulfe saw bright blossoms of fire burst into life as shells hit the wall. It didn't look like they were very effective.
"How can we expect to hit anything in a full sprint? Who conceived this bloody plan?"

Comments on range and accuracy tradeoffs. Russes arne't made ot fire at full speed, even against stationary targets it seems. Russes engaging wall guns at full speed at 2 km. Again more contextual in comments about ranges rather than absolutes. We dont know mcuha bout the nature of the targets, for example.

Page 252
Metzger spoke over the intercom. "We just made range!"
"Beans," said Wulfe, "line her up on one of those wall-guns. The bigger the better."
"Got one," said Beans. "Halfway up the wall on our two o'clock. How about it? The gun-port to the upper left of the central gate, sarge?"
Wulfe scanned the wall and found it. It was one of the biggest barrels visible. A good target. The muzzle was so damned wide a man could have sat comfortably inside it.
"Nice," said Wulfe. "Siegler, high-explosive. Beans, zero in. It'll be a tough shot. We'll have to fire on the move."
"I can do it, sarge," said Beans.
Siegler slammed a shell into the battle cannon's breech, yanked the locking lever and yelled, "She's lit!"
"Metzger," said Wulfe, "drop her down into third but, for Throne's sake, keep us moving. Steady as you can."
"Aye, sir," said Metzger.
Last Rites II slowed abruptly, and the tanks on either side began to pull further away from her.
Wulfe barely noticed. His eyes were locked to the target. When he felt that Metzger had her steady in third, he called, "Fire!"
"Brace," shouted Beans, and he stamped on the firing pedal with his right foot. Last Rites II rocked backwards with the blast. Three plumes of fire burst from her cannon, one from the mouth of the barrel and one from each of the apertures in either side of the muzzle brake.
The turret basket filled with the coppery stink of spent fyceline propellant. Wulfe didn't give it a thought. He was watching the ork wall-cannon. A fraction of a second after Last Rites II spat her shell, a yellow ball of fire burst into existence just below the wall-cannon's firing port. Pieces of burning metal showered the sand at the foot of the wall. Black smoke moved on the breeze. When it cleared, Wulfe saw...

Rather lengthy passage quoted verbatim, largely to demonstrate I'm not leaving anything out. By and large shortly after reaching range (~2 km) the gun fires, and the shot takes a 'fraction of a second' to cross that distance. Which means roughly speakign at leats around 2 km/s, perhaps even 3 or 4 km/s implied muzzle velocity for the Russ.
IT could be argued that the tank traveled some unknown distance before firing, and it wasn't quite at 2 km, but I suspect this wouldn't make a significant difference for two reasons. One, even giving the 'best' Russ speed in this book (30 km/hr off road) they'd take around a minute (at least) to cover 500 m. And they aren't travelling anywhere near that fast so it would take longer, and its hard to argue they're just sitting there for several minutes not firing whilst in the middle of battle (heck we KNOW they fire at least 2 if not 3 times before reaching the 1 km mark below, so there's still plenty of reason to think the first shot was taken 1.5+ km away if nothign else.) And then there's still the whole 'fraction of a second' thing. If we figure around .75 seconds even at say 1200 m you could still get at least 1.5 km/s, so there's still room to play.
In any case, we know from subsequent quotes they still hadn't crossed 1 km,. so evne in the worst case scernario the shot travels more than a km in a fraction of a second. so there's a absolute lower limit at WORST.
Note that whilst literal itnerpratation coudl be prone to insane abuse (EG 2 km in 1/4 or even 1/10th of a second, estimated reaction times for humans and the shot didn't hit beyond normal human reaction times near as I can tell.) its debatable how justifiable those are. For one thing these vehicles use propellant, and ti would have to be a VERY magical propellant to achieve that (something on the order of chemical version of an pure ET gun) and even then would proably have tob e saboted. This is more EM gun performance. And even if they can achieve it (possible, we know Battle cannon/Conqueorr cannon shots are 'hyper vleocity after all.. :P) higher velocity is not necesarily desirable, especially at 20 km/s, because well.. hypervelocity interactions mean that projectiles tend to.. explode. that sort of hampers penetration and can be for some weapons undesirable. Modern tanks opt for around 2-3 km/s as the 'ideal' tank velocity, but some even suggest lower (1.5 km/s or so.) which would be more consistent with the implied velocities I already outlined. Note that I'm NOT ruling out the higher ends at all, I'm just saying its not neccesariyl likely, and even if it is its not neccesariyl something you'd want to argue for. Tank stuff is complicated this way, and one might argue that if they could make KE rounds expldoe like that they wouldn't need HE shells (logistical advantage there.) Plus there's also the chance that your HV doom shells might be stopped by whipple shields :P
Numbers wise? Well we know the shell is probably 10-20 kg based on rough estimation If we go with 2 km/s thats 20-40,000 n-s of momentum for the projectile, and 20-40 MJ of KE for a full calibre projectile (note as always, comparisons between modern KEP is more complicated than just KE/momentum.) If we figure 3 km/s it could be 30-60,000 n-s, and KE goes up to 45-90 MJ. Could be argued either way. At 1.5 km/s its 15-30,000 kg*m/s, which is 11-23 MJ roughly. Thats going to fall into the ranges estimated by other calcs around (recoil, impact momentum, etc.) depending on parameters.

Page 253
There was a deep boom and a rush of pungent smoke. Last Rites II reared up on her treads with the power of the recoil, and then hit the sand again with a rough bounce. The main gun's breech slid back and dumped the spent shell casing in the brass catcher on the floor.

Interesting comment on Leman Russ recoil. We kmnow that Demolishers (as per 2nd edition rules) had something similar, although whether the lift is as much due to the fact the tank is moving as much to firing the gun (russes don't always do this, after all.) But as I noted above it could also be due to differences in design and quality (not all Russes are the same.) In any case this is surprisingly calcable. On the most simple level, most RL battle tanks of similar tonnage do not do this, so thats a lower limit (the recoil of modern tanks is aroudn 30-35,000 kg*m/s) But there are other examples. In This link on page 3 it says:
For a point of reference, 36 kN-s of momentum imparted to an 18-tonne FCS vehicle through its center of mass by a FOOB gun would endow it with 2 m/s of velocity. The kinetic energy of the vehicle would be 36 kJ, sufficient to raise the vehicle about 20 cm off the ground. It should be understood the moment arm between the center of mass of the vehicle and gun trunnions would result in substantial rotational energy imparted to the vehicle as well.

Which would be roughly what is described here. That would imply a recoil on the order of some 120,000 kg*m/s (or n-s if you prefer) - roughly 2 m/s velocity times some sixty tons. And that would presumably lift the tank some 20 cm off the ground, which might describe (within an OOM) what we're seeing above. Heck even if its half that (10 cm and 1 m/s maybe?) it would be considerable recoil.
The other way to do it is to go with this source, page 108. On that page they list a chart with what is known as the Ogorkiewicz ratio, which is often used for measuring recoil on RL fighting vehilces. There is a rule of thumb 'safe limit' of 900 n-s per ton I've talked about before. The M1 Abrams has around a 400-500 ns/ton by comparison, whereas some hypothetical tanks went in excess of 1000-2000 ns/ton (mainly through the use of proposed recoil damping tech, but its nice to know its *possible*) whereas the M550 Sheridan was known to have an unruly tank when firing at around 1050 ns/ton, althoguh the M8 is close at 1161 ns/ton (and was IIRC a Sheridan replacement, but never producd.) So we might figure between 900-1200 ns/ton is a good guess for the Russ in this case. at 60 tons or so that would be around 54,000-72,000 kg*m/s recoil, not as high as the first estimate but still higher.
Now, number crunching aside, extrapolating from this is not easy. Much like with the 'recoil force' quote from Honour Guard, the recoil a tank feels is a combination of its propellant (And ther'es no way in hell to ignore that there is propellant coming from these guns) and that the mass/velocity of both propellant AND projectile (to simplify) matter in recoil. Generally speaking its roughly half and half, near as I can tell for the Abrams tank gun (although it may edge towards 60% or so in slight favor of projectile) but if we figure roughly 50-60% we get between 27,000-48,000 n/s for the Russ's battle cannon projectile.
If we plug this into the 1.5-3 km/s velocity from beffore we get between 21-72 MJ of KE, depending on assumptions.

PAge 254
The engine roared. The base of the wall was no more than a kilometre away. The other companies were already slowing to blast every last gun-port they could see. Fire and smoke poured from the wall's gun-ports and towers. Leman Russ Conquerors and Demolishers from the 8th and 9th Companies were lobbing shells up onto the parapets, too, desperate to take out the artillery pieces before they could shred the infantry vehicles that would follow in the wake of the tanks.

The range for the firing was between 2 km and 1 km, basically, which is useful to know for the estimates on velocity as above. Given they've easily fired multiple shots at this point (but fewer than their full loadout) we could guess at the range more than likely being far more than 1 km.
Also Demolishers/Conqueorrs engage at this range on Golgotha. Given we know implications from Honoru Guard implying ranges of 1.5-2 km implied for tanks (Including Conqueroros and demolishers) as effective range, we could infer this means Golgotha is reducing range to something like 2/3 or even half. This might imply the Battle cannon's 'normal' range is 3-4 km, although again thats basically conjectural. Turning it around, we know Battle cannon have a range twice that of Demolishers and Conqueorrs. Note 1 km range is (roughly!) consistent with Inferno's Demolisher too. although as always target is context dependent upon lots of factors.

PAge 255
A charge passed through Vinnemann's twisted body as he felt the space around him vibrate. The pain he usually felt melted away for a moment as the tone rose higher and higher. Then, suddenly, the whole bulk of the Shadowsword shook as if it had been kicked by a giant. Blazing white light burst from her cannon, lancing straight across the battlefield, striking the massive ork gate dead centre.
The air shook with a massive thunderous crack. The iron gate glowed blindingly bright for an instant, and then seemed to vanish completely just as if it had never been there at all. The armoured wall all around it glowed white, then yellow, then orange and red. Gobs of molten metal began to rain down on the ground. Seconds later, the armour-plating had cooled again and solidified. It looked like melted wax.
The wall was breached. The 18th Army Group had its passage, but the battle was just beginning. Beyond the hole, ork structures burned, damaged by the destructive energy that spilled through from the Shadowsword's powerful blast.

Another shadowsword calc. we dont know how wide or thick the door is (although its wide enough to admit a Russ, and probably other big vehicles) and it probably has to be enough to at least allow other Ork vehicles to pass (including looted ones) so we might figure 5-10 m wide at least (probably more.) And its probably at least a quarter metre to half a metre thick (Its supposed to be resistant to tanks AND titans, and its at least resistant to the former if not the latter.) Assuming iron and that it melts the target (984-4000 tons at least) we're talking between 1.2 and 5 TJ delivered over an unknown (but probably short) period of time. It also didn't completely melt the door, but even blasting (playing around with the Death ray calculator, single pulse with a 10cm spot size) means 100-600 GJ delivered at least to blast apart the door 5-10m wide (which would have to be repeated), and there would be significant melting to factor in.
If we figure a 2 m 50 m wide 100 m long door melted we're talking 94 TJ (blasting through this as above would definieyl be single/double digit TJ probably, even with a sustained beam that could 'rake up' the doorway).
This was, IIRC maximum output and duration, so this is pretty much implication for 'max effort' for a Shadowsword volcano cannon, but its still a safe bet that the energy output is in the high GJ/low TJ range easily, with higher yields probably more in favor of a less efficient or more thermally inclined weapon.

PAge 261
Two Imperial tanks - one a Conqueror, the other a Destroyer - erupted into fire almost simultaneously. The Destroyer's onboard plasma-containment field lost integrity almost immediately. It exploded with a spectacular and lethal burst of energy that turned a dozen Cadian infantrymen nearby into piles of ash.

Implies single/double digit GJ for the plasma-reactor. Assuming perfectly efficient cremation it woudl be several hundred MJ, which would be several GJ. If its not efficient (which it probably is not) we're talking at least a gigajoule or two (based on cremation) which could imply 12-24 GJ, at least.
Whether its a plasma cannon or laser destroyer we don't know. Assuming full power.. if its a Plasma destroyer thats 12 shots from the pack, whilst if its a Destroyer tank hunter thats 20 shots per pack. 100 MJ per shot for the Destroyer tnak hunter, 167 MJ at least for the Executioner plasma destroyer (2 GJ.) If we talk 12-24 GJ that goes up to 1-2 GJ per shot for the Plasma destroyer (at least) and 600-1200 MJ for the Destroyer tank hunter LAser Destroyer. And this could still be higher, depending on how many shots may have been fired prior to this, distance and omindireciontal-ness of the blast, the fact that the tank itself has to be obliterated, etc.
Its also likely it cremated the crew, which could be 3-6 more people to cremate (an additional 600 MJ at least, to up to 6-12 GJ extra.. figure it adds 50% more to the yields implied.)

Page 262
Beans was just about to call out Brace! when the whole tank was suddenly shunted backwards about three metres. Wulfe shook his head, trying to lose the ringing sound in his ears. They had been hit right on the front armour, the glacis plate.
"More armour approaching from front-right, sarge," reported the driver. "They look like looted Leman Russ."
"Try to hit their treads with the lascannon," ordered Wulfe. "Buy us some time."

Another incident that duplicates one from Honour Guard. Ork vehicle knocks back Russ considerable distance. Similar to the Honour Guard incident really, flat ground more or less, and figure around 1-3 m/s estimated velocity. This scene is actually easier to belive and reconcile since we're talking Ork Vehicles, and they overgun the fuck out of even their looted ones, so an insanely powreful, brute force, gun like this isn't improbable. Like with HG, comparing this to 'modern' tank weapons like KEPs is hard because there is more to it than KE and force/momentum, and Orks aren't exactly known for subtle, sub-calibre munitions :P If we figure 60,000-180,000 kg*m/s and a velocity of around 500-1000 m/s for the Ork projectile we get between 15 MJ and 90 MJ for the projectile.
In any case, even if its not a perfect approximation in all ways, it shows that Russes can be hellishly durable against brute forces attacks if nothing else!
Also, lascannon used not for direct anti tank duty but more to take out treads (sof tkill.)

Page 262
The shot hit the ork machine exactly where it was supposed to, and Beans let out a whoop of joy, but there was no explosion, no sudden burst of flame, just a neat black hole the size of a grapefruit right in the centre of the skull-glyph's forehead.

That sized hole might imply the Battle cannon is at least comparable in size to a Vanquisher's (120mm) although I've heard' grapefruit' imply naywhere from 100mm (4 in) to 150mm (~6 in) and it could be argued any way for battle cannon :P That would imply a projectile perhaps somewhere between 8-10 kg and perhaps as high as 20 kg for a full-calibre round, I think.

Page 270-271
Bergen studied the general's face, thinking how disappointed he was that the man he had once looked up to had become so self-serving and obsessive.
Bergen read between the lines. He heard the unspoken words. At no time had the magos said that his objectives were the same as the general's, but whatever the tech-priests wanted, it suited them to support deViers.
He felt miserable. He had known for a long time that deViers would get them all killed for his own sake: Balkar lost, supply lines cut, every major outpost they had won under siege by the greenskins. It was worse even than he had imagined it would be, but still The Fortress of Arrogance pulled the general on relentlessly, and with him, the men and machines of the 18th Army Group.

More of the general's vainglory and desperation for a legacy driving the madness of this campaign.. and yet.. there is more. The AdMech seem to have their own agenda, one more than just recovering an 'important' symbolic baneblade for the Hero Yarrick.
Even though I often harp on the importance of symbolism and psychology in the warp due to 40K, If ind it hard pressed to justify this effort simply to retrieve tha tkind of symbole (it can be faked after all.. its just a baneblade) Politics on multiple levels drives this campaign, and that means goo dmen and machines get sacrificed to the ambitions and designs of others.
And the tragedy? Its a formerly great man, being exploited by others, being driven to this by desperation and his own mortality... and putting him in conflict with those who admire and respect him.. the squandering of the valuable ersources of manpower, trust, loyalty.. all on a last gasp of glory.
Now THAT is bleak and depressing!

Page 281
The orks seemed to have developed las and plasma analogues. Could it be that they were learning from their battles with the Guard?

Or just bad luck. Orks using energy weapons isn't unheard of, after all.

PAge 286
For the sake of target identification, the Officio Strategos tagged these towering creations Gargants. Similar designs of a lighter class had been code-named Stompers. They looked much the same but for the difference in size. There were reports of Gargants as tall as the greatest machines of the Legio Titanicus. They were as tall as the orks could make them: massive effigies of their savage gods, dressed for war in great skirts of the thickest armour plating the greenskins could find. Clouds of toxic gas and steam vented from them with every lumbering, earth-shaking step, and they were typically armed with more weapons than was practical.
More often than not, their arms were comprised of cannon of outrageous calibre, all grouped together so that they might launch volleys of devastating shells at a single target. Atop each giant body sat a control deck in the shape of a monstrous metal head. The orks designed these to look much like themselves; they had red eyes, albeit glowing ones made up of sensors, and jutting metal jaws that thrust forward, providing a parapet for the insane infantry that manned the gun positions there. Each shoulder was a firing platform bearing everything from artillery pieces to mortars and fixed stubber positions. Nothing else in the ork arsenal embodied their enthusiasm for war like these oversized abominations.

Gargants and Stompas identified. I imagine the high end of the gargant spectrum - Mega Gargants are the Imperator analogues.

Page 293
Beans and Siegler were preparing rations of sliced meal-brick and water by the side of the tank.

Cadian Guard cuisine. THE MEAL BRICK.

Page 294
The orks were closing in on them, still pursuing from the west. The Sentinels had used long-range scopes to spot them well out from the valley, but, in a little over ninety minutes, the orks would be here, and the fighting would start all over again.

Sentinel long range scopes.

Page 296
A burst of vox-chatter from the bead in his ear made the smile suddenly drop from Wulfe's face. He spat his mouthful of meal-brick onto the hard ground at his side.

Wulfe has a vox-bead of his own (suggesitng all tank commanders do) and again the meal bricks.

Page 300
Operation Thunderstorm had gone to hell. The Munitorum wouldn't want to lose face. They'd expunge it from the Imperial records once it was clear how spectacularly it had failed.

aRe we surprised this is how the Munitorum deals with failures? :P

Page 301
Bergen told his adjutant to patch Killian through, and then spoke through the tiny vox-mic built into his rebreather mask.

vox bead built into rebreather mask.

Page 307
..surrounded by anxious scouts from the 88th Mobile Infantry Regiment,..

Mobiel infantry again.. still dunno what they are.

Page 311
"We do not know the name of the sentient race that occupied Golgotha before us, major general," Sennesdiar answered. "We found no remains of their dead, no written records. They were long gone when the Great Crusade came this way, and where they went remains a mystery. We of the Mechanicus do not like to posit suppositions without adequate data."

Which is interesting given we know that old fluff gave the Squats Golgotha (til the Orks took) it... Purging of Kadillus mentioned it belonging to the Demiurg.. this novel seems to suggest something else entirely.

Page 333-334
Darkness held no fear for Lieutenant Katz, even in an alien place like this. Shadows hid few secrets from him. The tiny, sophisticated mirrors implanted at the back of his eyeballs allowed him to see perfectly well in anything but the most absolute blackness.
Katz had been specially selected for sniper training barely a month after he had joined the Whiteshields. He had been in his mid-teens, but already his sharp eyes, steady aim and cold composure marked him as a young man of great potential. From sniper school, he had been inducted into a special reconnaissance commando program so classified that it didn't appear on any Munitorum listing, one of a number of black projects ordered by Cadian High Command and funded directly by the planetary government. Most of the other trainees had been drawn from the ranks of the Kasrkin, and they were anything but kind to the precocious youngster in their midst. Katz had learned his lessons the hard way and, in due course, proved himself the equal of the older men, earning their respect and, in some cases, their jealousy. It was as part of that program that his eyes had been augmented. Throne, had it really been twenty-five years ago?
He almost snorted out loud at the speed with which those years had seemed to pass: all those missions deep behind enemy lines; all those figures, human and alien both, that he had lined up in his sights, only to watch them topple lifelessly at the next squeeze of his index finger on that little curve of metal.

This is an interesting passage because the Cadians seem to have gone into 'black ops' to create 'augmented' specforce troops, not unlike the Gland Warriors (and similar, like those Elyisans from IA4) or perhaps low tier Skitarii. The extent and nature of the augmentations isnt known, but it seems to do with creating specialized snipers/assassins for the CAdians. Its interesting because it does echo the whole Dawn of War 'Kasrkin minor augmentations' hinted at in the Guard factional stuff I remember, and its further example that high end troops do include some enchanced troops (again like the Lostock.) If anything this suggests the programmes/processes are more varied than we previously thought, creating not only just better close combat troops but good marksman too.
The augmetics in this case are very simple and subtle low light ones, which may not be as good as say, the augmetics sported by someone like Domor (or the AdMech themselves) but are still quite impressive (and hard to detect, more importantly.)

Page 335
<I would have detected him by his breath, or his heartbeat, or the scrape of his boots in the dust,> insisted Xephous.

AdMech life detection sensors.

Page 336
..together the three tech-priests moved to lift it. It would have taken a dozen men significant effort, but, to the priests of the Machine Cult, it was an easy matter.

Implies 3 techpriests are equal to a dozen men in strength, quite easily due to augmetics.

Page 338
Giving one's systems over to the control of another tech-priest's intelligence core was a dangerous and highly irregular affair. Ipharod was even older than Sennesdiar, and had enough authority to demand permanent control of the adept's body. Officially, Sennesdiar would be unable to refuse, but he valued Xephous enough to resent the idea. He did not want to lose his adept quite yet.
No, he decided, Ipharod's 1C module will reveal the information I seek, and then I will deactivate it for eventual return to Mars. If Ipharod wishes to live again, let it be inside another body constructed for just that purpose.

Apparently the Intelligence core - whatever it is - allows for a Magos/techpriest ot technically be 'reborn' in another body.. a sort of technological reincarnation.. as long as the IC is recovered. It can also allow for a sort of 'possession' if the IC is implanted in another body

PAge 339
Armadron carefully plugged the intelligence core into Xephous' brain and closed the metal hatch.
<Shut down your central operating systems and memory sub-systems. Reboot now as Ipharod.>
Xephous shuddered. Green diodes on his metal face winked out. His head lolled slackly onto his shoulder.

Not unlike rebooting a computer.

Page 343
<It is a relic from before the Age of Strife. Tech-Adept Reiyon, Yarrick's former enginseer, was the first to discover its existence on Golgotha. He planned to transport it back to Mars after the war, never predicting that Yarrick's forces would fall here. He was killed during the commissar's capture. If the fragment can be recovered once more, it will allow us to significantly refine our teleportation technologies. It must be retrieved at any cost.>

The Admech's goal on Golgotha. It points to an old pre-Imperial human civilization, perhaps hinting at the Squats themselves (or the Demiurg having human interactions of some sort in the past. Either way its archeotech and thsu the AdMech want it, and will sacrifice tens of thousands of lives to obtain it. Such is AdMech logic, and demonstrates once again how politics can fuck over the military in the Grim Darkness of the Future.
Even more hilarious is you just know the AdMech will hoard this data.

Page 356
The poet Michelos had said something about fools writing history in the blood of better men, but Bergen couldn't remember the exact words.

This has so much relevance as foreshadowing for much of what is happening in this book, and what has come up to now and what we discover by the end. DeVries fits this pattern.

PAge 359
The Cadians dropped hundreds of the foe at range, their Basilisk artillery pieces taking a terrible toll from about five kilometres back, but the orks had numbers to spare.

Engagement range of Basilisks against Orks. Probably direct fire at this point.

Page 362
The 8th Mechanised Division and 12th Heavy Infantry Divisions..
The 10th Armoured Division..

Cadian forces.. Mechanised division, Heavy infantry division, Armoured division.

PAge 363
Foe-Breaker rocked. Her turret basket filled with stinking smoke. The dreadnought seemed frozen in time for a split second. A melon-sized black hole had appeared in its armour, transfixing it.

Melon sized hole, agian gives hints about size and caliber of AP rounds.

Page 367
Something hit the tank's glacis plate with so much force that the back end lifted clear of the sand. Half a second later, it crashed down again. The treads bit into the dirt, and Last Rites II leapt forward, pulling more orks underneath her.

Strike from an ork aircraft. bomb perhaps/

Page 368
.. the Cadian tanks had been forced to slow down. That made them easier targets for the ork tanks that spluttered and rumbled at the rear of the horde. They were massive, lumbering junk heaps with far too much armour bolted on at all angles. They crawled forward on rusting treads, traversing their turrets almost in slow motion, trying to draw a bead on their faster Imperial counterparts.

We dont know exaclty what they are, aside from being Ork tanks that are bigger than Russes. Presumably they're smaller than the Baneblade in the latter novel (else that wouldn't make such a big dela) and are significantly smaller (less than 200 tons, probably) meaning its one of the larger battlewagons or a proto-battlefortress. That could mean it travels around 20-30 km/hr, although others have been known to be faster (40 or even 60 kph possibly). Given context of this novel I would probably rule out 60 kph as unlikely (not impossible, just unliekly), but 30-40 kph would not be impossible, depending on terrain and conditions and the specific tanks, although 25-30 kph would be likeliest given all the evidence. Of course tis probably means even the Demolishers are faster than these tanks, which makes them hilariously much faster than IA1 tanks, and quite possibly faster than Executioners and Vanquishers (again like Honour Guard.)

PAge 368
The Destroyers joined the attack from the front, the raw destructive power of their lethal beams cutting straight through hulls and turrets irrespective of armour thickness or density.

Again laser or plasma destroyers? Could be either!

Page 369
Colonel von Holden's 259th Mechanised Infantry Regiment held its section of the line with a mix of Chimeras, halftracks and troopers on foot.

Mechanised infantry regiment using half-tracks again.

Page 370
One of the ork trucks spat a great gout of flame, and von Holden's Chimera was knocked sideways, slewing to a halt. The high-explosive round had shredded her right tread.

Effect of Ork HE round on Chimera.. again considerable momentum.

Page 373
An armoured behemoth lumbered into view around a towering mountain of rusting scrap metal. It was easily twenty metres tall at the shoulder, almost thirty with its heavily armed howdah.

Ork Super-Squiggoth. Titan grade.

Page 375-376
.. Wulfe looked back to see the unlucky tank and its crew crushed almost flat by a massive clawed foot.
"That thing must weigh a thousand tonnes!" he exclaimed.

Squiggoth crushes a tank, and implied weight (or guess).

Page 384
From a pre-expedition total of over one hundred, only twenty-six tanks remained in the ranks of the 81st Armoured Regiment.

Size of 81st Armoured Regiment. Agian 100 tanks, 10 companies, 10 tanks per company average. Not neccesarilya hard number either way, as it can vary according to crew availability and replacement vehicles.

Page 385
Huge armoured orks, some of them almost three metres tall, poured out from shadowed corners in a frenzy..

More huge orks.

Page 389
.. Bergen was raving about some monstrous ork battle tank five times the size of a Leman Russ that was ripping the forward elements of his armoured division apart.

5x russ size ork tank.. baneblade sized.. in fact...

Page 390
he Emperor wasn't doing a very good job of protecting the men of the 88th Mobile Infantry.

Mobile infantry again.. still dont know what they are. Either mechanised, armoured, or heavy infantry. Implied they might be infantry

PAge 390
Lasgun blasts hardly seemed to affect the orks at all.
Wulfe's stubber-fire was only marginally more effective.

Implies that Caidan lasguns are only a bit less effective than Wulfe's heavy stubber, suggesting guns equal (broadly) to full power or HMG rounds.

Page 390-391
Beans had fired on that clanking, rumbling, smoke-spewing monstrosity three times already, switching from high-explosive to armour-piercing when it was clear the former was utterly ineffective, but the armour-piercing shot hadn't done much in the way of damage either. The other tanks had discovered this too. Their rounds either exploded without effect or lodged in metre-thick slabs of iron skin.

Apparently AP rounds cannot penetrate metre thick iron (completely) at an unknown range and unkonown composition (well other than its iron at least partly and a metre thick.)

PAge 396
Siegler rammed the barrel of a lasgun into the creature's mouth and yanked back hard on the trigger. The blast blew out the back of the ork's head, spattering the wall of the turret basket and two of its occupants with blood and brain matter.

Lasgun fires a single shot and blows out back of Ork's skull. Definitely going to be high single digit kj at least, if not double digit. You can blow out a skull (probably) with at least a couple kj (a properly fragmenting AR round (look here and note the 5.56 and 6.8mm for examples) in a normal head. Orks are many times bigger/heavier/tougher, and we know this novel mentioned a 3-4x discrepancy, so we can figure at least 3-4x that for humans, which woudl be 1.5-2.2 kj by the above, and results in 4.5-5 kj at least to 9-10 kj estimated on the other end of the spectrum.
More probably somethign suitably full power might be desirable which is closer to 3-4 kj, and would result between 9-16 kj per shot as a comparison.
Alot will depend on the nature of the explosive effects, degree (if any) thermal damage done (more thermal could mean more energy, although as noted this isn't always BETTER), and how big the exit wound is blasted through/how the laser works, but as an approximation this is sufficient for most purposes, even if it turns out on the low end.

Page 399
Then one shot struck the raging warboss that stood atop the turret. There was a sudden burst of bright blue light and a loud cracking sound as the energy field generated by the warboss' armour straggled to absorb the blast. Against lesser weapons like lascannons, it might have held indefinitely, but it simply wasn't powerful enough to repel the sheer force of a tank round impacting at full velocity. The field collapsed and the beast's right arm vanished completely in a fine red mist.
The warboss staggered and looked sideways at the ragged, bleeding stump of flesh with an expression of slack-jawed disbelief. That was when a second round, an armour-piercing shell from Captain Immrich's Vanquisher, Firemane, struck it dead centre in the torso. The round punched straight through the ork's power armour, blew its guts out its back, and blasted it from its feet.

shield is implied to be able to stand up to lascannon fire, but not battle cannon AP shells overpenetrate like fuck. Probably indicates such force fields are better against energy than force/momentum, which is why melee attacks (and projectiles) probably do batter, at least for 'personal' shields. Low mass projectiles (like bullets) of course, are another story.
The Warlord's imparted momentum from overpenetrating tank round is useful, but without knowing the mass of the Ork, its armour (which could by some sources be 1 ton for the ork, and the armour might double or even triple that depending on how ostentatious/poorly designed/thickly armoured/spiky it is.) and how much velocity was imparted to knock him off. And evne then thats only what was imparted to the body, since the round clearly punched through. Good for a lower limit guess, I suppose.

Page 403
The ork warboss was barely alive, able to stand only by virtue of a central nervous system that had been developed to work through indescribable levels of physical pain; that, and the all-consuming hatred it felt for weak, pathetic humans.
It closed its remaining power claw around the general's middle and, with the briefest twitch of its fingers, cut the man in half.

DeVries gets his immortality.. just in time to meet his end.. sort of karma for his insane drive for glory. Also shows Warboss resilience. Get hit by a tank round (twice) and he still survives some time.

Page 405
Men moved among the dead, collecting dog tags from the necks of their fallen brothers, and retrieving lasguns, pistols, grenades and anything else that Munitorum procedure said was too valuable to leave behind.

Cuz the Muniotrum always knows best!

Page 411-413
The far foothills were already dark with the shadows of the descending xenos horde: such incredible numbers. Good, it would be a worthy fight, a fitting end to a lifetime of vendetta. There was no fear in him. Decades of constant war had desensitised him to it. All that time spent in the forge of battle had made his soul as hard as ceramite. His mind was tougher than folded steel. Victory alone was what mattered, and today he would have it, whatever the cost. Damn his detractors. They were blind to the bigger picture. They squabbled like children over body counts and budgets when it was this, life or death on the battlefield, that truly mattered.
It was here the future would be decided, here that he would meet Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka for the very last time.
Now he knew he had been right to push for a recovery mission. Yes, men had died to get her here. By all accounts, the blood-price had been horribly high, but the effect of her presence on Armageddon was far beyond such a price. Her spirit charged the air. Men reached out to touch her cold, hard flanks, muttering prayers for strength and glory. Even now, he felt their eyes on her. She was as much a legend as he was.

sounds an awful like DeVries, doesn't Yarrick? The same 'damn the cost, I'll get what I want' attitude, the craving of glory and a worthy fight, the disregard for 'detractors' who are obstacles in getting what you want.... its ironic that DeVries is used by someone like him ot get someting they want (who in turn were used by the AdMech.. both Yarrick and Devries.. and the Cadians).. and others always pay. There's a sort of horrible symmetry to all that, that sort of mindset being able to rationalize any loss if its convenient to their purposes.. and thats pretty much the theme of the book. Its a good book, but it salso very sad and tragic because all the good men who suffer because of the glory and fears and desires of a bunch of frightened old men.

The truly interesting thing to me is, so many fluff sources depict Yarrick as heroic and noble and great, like Gaunt or Cain... but this makes him out to be some sort of decrepit, psycho loon. Maybe there's a lesson in that with the DeVries example.. DeVries was once a great man, respected and loved by his subordinates.. but he also feel from grace. Maybe the decades between second and third Armageddon, the losses inflicted.. drove Yarrick mad as well./ What kind of man might be waging war at the turn of the millenium on that planet?


Waiting Death.. this is from the Omnibus and follows that page number.s Originally an audiobook. Featuring Colonel Straken of the Catachans, so its Steve Lyons. I liked it better than Death World, oddly.

Page 745
General Farris, you might have gathered by now, was not one of us. He hailed from Validius, a world so in-bred that eighty per cent of its population belonged to the monarchy, and didn't they just love to let you know it. To be fair, Farris had posted himself to the front line this morning - he must have had some guts.

Lyons seems to enjoy injecting the Validius into every one of his books or stories - they seem to be the 'joke' regiment that the regiment he is writing about gets compared to, or something.
And still, the Catachans can respect courage.

Page 745
"They believe they came to this world in a 'great sky chariot' a thousand generations ago."
"The Stellar Exodus?"
I knew that some of the first colony ships had strayed beyond the Segmentum Solar, and so in those pre-warp days had become lost to history. It had even been suggested that one of those ships had seeded human life on Catachan.
"Their ancestors were born on Holy Terra. They're the Emperor's people, like us."

Reference to the colonization efforts prior to the discovery of Warp travel, whch allegedly happened 25-30 thousand years ago or so. The interesting thing - aside from the fact Catachan may have been colonized in that way, is the apparent reverence they give to people originating from Terra. Apparently terran-born humans have a special 'significance' in the Imperium above and beyond humanity in general. Most of thse seem to be centered in Segmentum Solar but a small but significant percentage (unknown however) went beyond that.
It's not unlike the special status accorded to Terrans and Terran born (positive and negative) in the HH novels, or the way that the Terran Born seem to be the most significant and wealthiest driving forces in the Imperium at that time. Could this perhaps give some explanation to the 'million world' Imperium, and the designation of 'Imperial' worlds? Or at least be a significant factor in such?

Page 746
Without turning my head, I refocussed my gaze, trhough my pistol's sights. I re-examined my surroundings through an infrared filter, but again there was nothing.

Straken's plasma pistol has an IR scope.

Page 746
My damned comm-bead was still dead. I couldn't sub-vocalise a warning to the other four sentries, couldn't shot to them without giving myself away.

The Catachans here have comm beads, although they evidently didn't in the last novel. Go figure.

Page 747
I squeezed off ten shots, until my pistol was hot in my hands. I couldn't tell if I had struck true.

Straken's plasma pistol cna fire off at least ten shots, and doesn't seem to be out of ammo, although it runs the risk of overheating.

Page 747
..instinctively rolled onto my augmetic shoulder, letting it take the brunt of the impact. I heard something break inside it, and a servo sputtered and whined, but I felt no loss of function as I pushed myself up.

Augmetics for the Guard seem to have a certain measure of redundnacy built in, which makes sense given the kind of abuse they'd be subjected to. Then again the augmetics in 'Ice Guard' are a bit different. So maybe there are tradeoffs (quality vs durability.)

Page 748
Trooper Graves was nursing a fresh wound. Snatching his hand from his temple, I saw the familiar red welt of a glancing las-beam hit.

Lasweapons in Lyons' books again seemt o be more thermal and penetrating 'heat ray' beams rather than explosive effect.

Page 754
The grenade felt cold in my hand, and reassuringly solid. It gave me strength, put me back in control. I knew it would rip my body apart. I knew that this time not even the most skilled surgeon would be able to stitch me back together. But a glorious death was far preferable to defeat. And a death that took six - or seven - of my enemies with me..

Power of Catachan grenades.

Page 754
There were only a few wounded, and nothing a can of synth-skin couldn't fix.

Synth-skin again.

Page 754
My Catachan Fang. half a metre of cold steel..

Reference again to how absurdly hugetastic Catachan weapons are. Because they need to compete with Crocodile Dundee, I guess.

Page 755
"But the villagers, man! some of them are old. There are children. They won't be able to keep pace with us."
"So, ew lose a few civilians. Better that than-"

To be fair to the Catachans, he was insistent on defending the place at first against attack to protect the civilians, and given the CAtachan attitude they're always more concerned about their men first and foremost (part of the bond and trust they have an dwhat makes them such great soldiers. . which is kind of the point of the story for Straken.)
Still, despite how callous the Catachan come off (and they do), its nice to know the Validian General is at least concerned about FILTHY CIVILIANS.

Page 758
The explorators, it seemed, had left a survey probe in Borealis Four's orbit - and the tech priests at HQ had tapped into its scans of the planetary surface. The aim had been to produce a tactical map, locate a few cultist strongholds.

use of probes/satellite/orbital surveillance.

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