SD+SB in Middle Earth

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Postby MKSheppard » 2003-02-24 06:50pm

First things first:

1.) Set up a Firearms Training Programme

Mr. Bean and all SD Netters who practice regularly with firearms are
hereby appointed Training Sergeants. (and no, Wilson isn't in it. He hasn't
fired a gun in what, five years? Shooting skills degrade over time. You need constant practice to keep your edge, and he lives in a bad place
for that kind of stuff). Hell, I haven't fired a gun in what, three years. I
most certainly wouldn't want to be in charge of firearms training. Too much
of a chance for fuckups..

2.) Begin Building a Local Manufacturing Base

The base has it's own Machine Shop, of course. We begin designing
and building crude machine tools that we can maintain and keep running
with middle earth level technology (I am NOT boring the barrels out of
10,000 rifles by hand).

We search for local hydropower, and set up our new base there, next
to the most reliable source of power = running water.

3.) Develop Indigenious weapons

Screw muzzle loading smoothbores. I'm not fucking around with the
ramming rod to shove a ball down the barrel in the middle of battle,
despite some people's obvious love of those damn napoleonic tactics.

We concentrate on developing Breech loading bolt-action rifles firing
blackpowder, using a couple of Mauser actions as a base (The US Military's
sniper rifles are based off the Remington Model 700, which borrows from the mauser action heavily.
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Postby The Yosemite Bear » 2003-02-24 06:57pm

I think I pretty well took over the support camp. Pro-Cook, & EMT trainee, however I wish there was someone who had more skills and medical training posting besides me. Fuck this is almost worth dealing with the hassel of getting Amy Lawrence over here. (Granddaughter of the Prof. Lawrence they named the Atomic labs in Livermore CA after.) She's a wars fan, an Airforce surgeon (Emergency medicine/Combat), so she would fit in. The fact that her and I hate each other with virilent passion is besides the point....
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Postby MKSheppard » 2003-02-24 07:04pm

They built the precedessors to the Mauser Model 98 (98 as in 1898) in
the 1840s and 1850s as the Prussian Needle-rifles. We have the technological
base in our base machine shop to create an 1860s level machine shop
very quickly.

Those precious CAD/CAM machining tools are not going to last long, but if
we can make 100 roughly accurate machine tools of 1850s/1860s level
before our modern tools break down for good, we're set for life, as we
can keep churning out more and more machine tools and doubling our
industrial base every few months....
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Postby MKSheppard » 2003-02-24 07:12pm

No Chemical weapons testing/manufacturing just now, Mike :lol:

We'd be too closely concentrated and dependent on the military
base that a Sverdlosk-type disaster would wipe us all out. When we've
grabbed enough land to set up a remote, well-defended CW/BW research
station very very far away from our original base, then go all for it, you Mad Chemist! :P
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Postby Coyote » 2003-02-24 07:58pm

This may go over rather oddly but...

If we set up camp at or near Helm's Deep, we can use the cliffs behind us to our advantage by developing launch rails for gliders. Or even tow gliders behind HMMWVs to get them into the air (like parasailing behind motorboats).

From there, we have bicycle pedal arrangements for propellers. I'm not suggesting that these contraptions will fly as long as we pedal, but it will keep the silly things in the air for many dozens of minutes longer than a true hang-glider or ultralight by retarding their fall rate.

I bring this up because we will not have the small engines available to make ultralights, unless the base has a ready supply of lawnmowers.

And Shep's right about machine tools and weapons-- we need to make sustainable equipment tools similar to the stuff created at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. And that means if we can make breech-loading weapons, even something like break-apart double-barrel shotguns, then we should. If we can make a 98K or a Chassepaut, then lets go for it.

C-96 Broomhandle Mausers will come in good time. :twisted:
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Postby weemadando » 2003-02-24 08:41pm

The Yosemite Bear wrote:I think I pretty well took over the support camp. Pro-Cook, & EMT trainee, however I wish there was someone who had more skills and medical training posting besides me. Fuck this is almost worth dealing with the hassel of getting Amy Lawrence over here. (Granddaughter of the Prof. Lawrence they named the Atomic labs in Livermore CA after.) She's a wars fan, an Airforce surgeon (Emergency medicine/Combat), so she would fit in. The fact that her and I hate each other with virilent passion is besides the point....


Well, I'm hoping to get some more medical training in, as I'm looking at working with the volunteer ambo squads. And as it is I have enough medical skill to stabilise most people. But I don't think we have a single doctor on SDnet or SB...

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Postby Crayz9000 » 2003-02-25 01:28am

Actually, if we get a decent late 1800s machine shop set up, we can easily manufacture Stirling external-combustion engines. Since they can run on alcohol or pretty much any burnable substance, it might be something to consider as a power source...
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Postby The Yosemite Bear » 2003-02-25 01:37am

Yeah, we are sadly lacking in that.

I can do some stablization, and some quick and dirty, but my skills are below that of a civil war field doc.
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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 01:47am

Coyote wrote:C-96 Broomhandle Mausers will come in good time. :twisted:


Good heavens, why would you want to focus on those? A good 1911 is far more practical. The manufacturing process for a weapon like that is such that you could turn out half a dozen government model .45s in the time it take to make one broomhandle. The 1911's a damn sight easier to load, fire, and maintain as well.

And as for rifles, as I said, the Remington rolling block's the best weapon to set up for a primitive manufacturing plant. You can turn them out in the largest numbers, and arm the largest number of troops the quickest. After the industrial plant is up and running, it can be improved to manufacture more modern weapons. If it's a bolt action you want, the Springfield 1903A3 is proably the way to go seeing as it was optimized for mass production.

BTW, don't concentrate so heavily on machine tools you forget other necessities. Just for one example: you'll need a Blanchard lathe unless you fancy carving all those wooden rifle stocks by hand.

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Postby Vympel » 2003-02-25 03:00am

Why bother with even a M1911A1? Any of the WW2 revolvers will suit us.
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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 03:40am

Vympel wrote:Why bother with even a M1911A1? Any of the WW2 revolvers will suit us.


A 1911 has the following advantages over any service revolver:

1) greater magazine capacity
2) much faster reloading
3) is faster to get into action out of the holster when carried cocked with the safety on (and yes, it's safe to carry this way, that's how John Browning designed it to be carried).
3) is easier to shoot, particularly for shooters with smaller sized hands, who may have difficulty with the long, heavy double action trigger stroke of a revolver.
4) is easier to shoot effectively under stress (proven in numerous police shootings).
5) can be accurately fired far more rapidly, thanks to the single action trigger
6) is more easily concealed, when concealment is required, due to its flatter shape.
7) proprietary nature to the user - in other words, someone unfamiliar with it may not be able to make it go bang, since he may not know how to work the safey (all you have to do with a revolver is point and shoot - bad if someone gets your gun away from you).
8 ) is more easily repaired in the event of breakage, especially under field conditions.

The 1911 also enjoys a stopping power advantage over any military revolver except the Colt and Smith & Wesson M1917 revolvers that were also chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. And the M1911 is easier to shoot than either of them because the bore axis is lower in the hand, reducing muzzle flip and thus lowering recovery time between shots. Furthermore, the M1917s made by Colt and Smith & Wesson were very large frame revolvers, with a trigger reach that is quite long, and difficult for some shooters who have small sized hands; this is not a concern on the M1911.

There is a reason no major army still issues revolvers to first line troops.

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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 03:41am

I forgot to mention: the M1911 isn't significantly harder to manufacture than a modern double action revolver is either.

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Postby Vympel » 2003-02-25 03:45am

Perinquus wrote:I forgot to mention: the M1911 isn't significantly harder to manufacture than a modern double action revolver is either.


Ah, well in that case, M1911A1.
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Postby The Yosemite Bear » 2003-02-25 03:47am

If were going to build a nice simple easy to maintain/service/build rifle.

Might I suggest the indestructable rifle of Queen and Country.

Fuck if they can still keep them being produced in the worst possible conditions in Afganistan and Pakistan, that says something.
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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 04:25am

The Yosemite Bear wrote:If were going to build a nice simple easy to maintain/service/build rifle.

Might I suggest the indestructable rifle of Queen and Country.

Fuck if they can still keep them being produced in the worst possible conditions in Afganistan and Pakistan, that says something.


I'm not sure if you're referring to the Martini-Henry or any of the various Lee-Enfields. They're still more complex than the rolling block, especially the SMLE (AKA No. 1 Mk.III*). Remember, we want to get as many produced as possible in fairly short order. Even pistols would come along later. Much later in fact. I'm assuming the military force would bring its own sidearms, so the need to make them in Middle Earth is not pressing. There's little need to arm the locally raised troops with pistols at first - the truth is that they're not much use in infantry combat until you get into things like trench warfare, house to house fighting, etc.

Now a Lee-Enfield would indeed be an excellent choice for slightly later, when we've already got a fair number of local troops, say 5 - 10 thousand to start with, armed with single shots. This gives you a quickly raised local army that is still massively superior to anything else in Middle Earth in terms of weaponry, and will positively annihilate any army it encounters in the open field, almost regardless of size. Then, gradually you replace the single shots with magazine rifles, and relegate the single shots to second line use, garrison troops and such.

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Postby Patrick Ogaard » 2003-02-25 04:34am

Basic, sustainable machine tools would be a must, no doubt about it. And steam engines. Crayz9000's idea of the Stirling might actually prove a viable idea under the circumstances. I suspect that the estimable Mr. Wong and a few of the other engineer types should, with help from various mechanically inclined folks and various scrounged and fabricated parts, be able to rig a series of simple and relatively compact steam engines and electrical generators.

Even without more than basic hand tools for metalworking, though, it may be possible to get even modern guns made. The guns might not be as accurate and reliable as their industrially produced siblings, but they should work well enough to use them to arm auxiliary forces. Think of the numerous small workshops in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan. Given some steel wire, rebar, wood and a bit of sheet metal, one of those workshop craftsmen can turn out a working copy (right down to the faithfully copied serial numbers) of practically any modern small arm. The trick would be to convince one or more families of human or dwarf smiths to settle in the vicinity of the base (better yet, inside) and learn the necessary tricks of the trade. I would be surprised if a decent swordsmith could not pick up the trick of making a working assault rifle or bolt action rifle clone if given even the most basic of machine shop assistance. A proper gun made to precisely machined tolerances would obviously be preferred, but handmade guns of native make should at least work. And there would still be the monopoly on the drawing of brass and production of suitable propellants and primers.

Having a complete, modern machine shop available for just the first few months should -- with good discipline and planning -- be adequate to produce a sustainable early 1900s technology base. Old machine tool patterns and blueprints should be obtainable and easily carried in a backpack.

Another potential opition for a simple repeating gun with a fairly high rate of fire would be an airgun. The striking power may leave something to be desired, but something like the Austrian Girandoni air-rifle, a 13mm 20-shot repeater with an effective range of just over a hundred meters, would be a potentially useful addition. Also, the technology needed is strictly late 18th century. Getting a squad of hobbit sharpshooters with airguns might not be a bad thing (though good luck finding sufficiently motivated hobbits). Obviously, though, an airgun would be no more than a sideline, with perhaps a few dozen to a few hundred to be produced.

Setting up a native village near the base would be another good idea in the long run. Appropriate inducements (protection, money, land, access to technologies) could prompt a fair trickle of volunteers.
A family of charcoal burners would be one obvious choice, providing charcoal and potentially also very fine carbon dust for use in ink.
Another obvious choice would be a lime burner to produce quicklime (which has lots of industrial and defense applications) and the slaked lime without which buildings won't get plastered and concrete won't get made.
Someone to make soap, lye and potash would also be a good choice.
A native carpenter and a native stonemason, complete with assistants, also should not be left out.
If there is going to be fresh, salt or smoked meat, herdsmen/shepherds will be needed, and maybe a butcher. (That's where ice and sawdust come in to help in keeping spoilage to a minimum.)
All those people won't be able to live off MREs, so farmers, helped out by the base's Directorate of Public works with a few HMMWVs or other vehicles fitted with harrows, plows and such, would also be needed.
The younger townsfolk would also be a potential core pool of recruits for the native auxiliary.
If there are farmers, a baker or at least a communal bake house will be necessary, not to mention a miller (though that might be a useful base monopoly).

All of this stuff would naturally have to run parallel to, and not interfere with, the combat skills training and various offensive operations.

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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 04:46am

Don't worry about assault rifles yet; there's plenty of time for that later. Single shots are fine to start with, and you will enjoy all the advantages the British enjoyed over the Zulus, which was pretty decisive enabling some 150 soldiers to defend a supply station against some 4000 Zulus at Rorke's Drift, for example. That's plenty of forepower over the natives, believe me.

The Afghan workshops can indeed make impressive copies of firearms, there's just one thing they lack: interchangeability of parts. Try for something too complex, and you will probably not have it until it's too late. Remember the old military principle - K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). Settle on a simple design you can turn out in quantity, and all on the same machinery so that you have complete interchangeability of parts.

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Postby Patrick Ogaard » 2003-02-25 05:23am

Perinquus wrote:Don't worry about assault rifles yet; there's plenty of time for that later. Single shots are fine to start with, and you will enjoy all the advantages the British enjoyed over the Zulus, which was pretty decisive enabling some 150 soldiers to defend a supply station against some 4000 Zulus at Rorke's Drift, for example. That's plenty of forepower over the natives, believe me.

The Afghan workshops can indeed make impressive copies of firearms, there's just one thing they lack: interchangeability of parts. Try for something too complex, and you will probably not have it until it's too late. Remember the old military principle - K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). Settle on a simple design you can turn out in quantity, and all on the same machinery so that you have complete interchangeability of parts.


Don't get me wrong here: I was definitely not advocating actually purposely churning out copies of the AK-47 or anything like that. A core force of infantry, probably with no more body armor than an iron helmet and buff coat, possibly with a cuirass for the heavy infantry, would be quite adequate. Arming those troops with single-shot breechloader rifles, bayonets and large knives for emergency combat and tool purposes would be quite adequate. Scouting and cavalry screens could then be provided by a force of similarly equipped troops who simply replace the knife with a saber or sword and add a pair of breechloading pistols. That should be more than enough either way.

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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 05:38am

A breechloading carbine and a single pistol would be better.

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Postby Patrick Ogaard » 2003-02-25 05:50am

Perinquus wrote:A breechloading carbine and a single pistol would be better.


The simplest thing for mass production of the breechloading long guns would be to skip the entire rifle/carbine distinction from the 18th and 19th centuries and go straight to a short rifle. A breechloader does not have to be as short as a muzzleloader to be usable from horseback, and any long range fire is likely to come from dismounted cavalry in any event. (Suitably long spike bayonets for the infantry can bring the total length back up to the approximately six feet necessary.

The pistols are just insurance for close combat, especially against armored opponents, and in melee having a pair of single-shot pistols is better than having one (and beats having a sword unless the pistol is empty). Even many Civil War cavalrymen carried paired revolvers, admittedly in a holdover from the single-shot days.

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Postby Knife » 2003-02-25 11:44am

1.) Set up a Firearms Training Programme

Mr. Bean and all SD Netters who practice regularly with firearms are
hereby appointed Training Sergeants. (and no, Wilson isn't in it. He hasn't
fired a gun in what, five years? Shooting skills degrade over time. You need constant practice to keep your edge, and he lives in a bad place
for that kind of stuff). Hell, I haven't fired a gun in what, three years. I
most certainly wouldn't want to be in charge of firearms training. Too much
of a chance for fuckups..


Actually while your correct in that if you don't constantly train, your skills deminish, the notion that the knowledge that he and others have will deminish is incorrect.

You don't teach firearms by just saying "watch me." and shoot. The basic principles as well as some more advanced thought on the subject would be more helpful than just demostrating ones personal ability. Sure, demostrations are helpful and will be required so students can visualize what the instructors want them to do but knowing the underlying priciples of the propper way of shooting are more important for an instructor than actual round to paper/target time. Granted, for best results, both knowledge and current skill is the best but......
They say, "the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots." I suppose it never occurred to them that they are the tyrants, not the patriots. Those weapons are not being used to fight some kind of tyranny; they are bringing them to an event where people are getting together to talk. -Mike Wong

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Postby Cpt_Frank » 2003-02-25 12:07pm

If we need a rugged bolt-action rifle it will have to be the Mosin 91/30.
Simple and cheap to manufacture, and it's 7.62 cartridge has a rim which means we have bigger manufacturing tolerances especially regarding headspace.
The GEW98 is also nice.
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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 12:16pm

Patrick Ogaard wrote:
Perinquus wrote:A breechloading carbine and a single pistol would be better.


The simplest thing for mass production of the breechloading long guns would be to skip the entire rifle/carbine distinction from the 18th and 19th centuries and go straight to a short rifle. A breechloader does not have to be as short as a muzzleloader to be usable from horseback, and any long range fire is likely to come from dismounted cavalry in any event. (Suitably long spike bayonets for the infantry can bring the total length back up to the approximately six feet necessary.

The pistols are just insurance for close combat, especially against armored opponents, and in melee having a pair of single-shot pistols is better than having one (and beats having a sword unless the pistol is empty). Even many Civil War cavalrymen carried paired revolvers, admittedly in a holdover from the single-shot days.


I would agree with the short, universal rifle concept, except for one thing, if we are using black powder propellant (which we probably would at first, given that it's much easier to make), then a long rifle is desireable. Black powder is slow burning, and needs a long barrel to ensure more completel combustion of the powder charge before the bullet leaves the muzzle. If the bullet leaves the barrel before combustion is complete, you get excessive muzzle blast, excessive flash, increased felt recoil, and reduced velocity of your projectile, which diminishes stopping power.

Carbines were used for cavalry during the black powder era because a long rifle such as the infantry used simply was not practical from horseback. You just accepted the extra recoil, blast, and flash, along with reduced velocity as the unavoidable penalty for making the weapon short enough for use from horseback. When faster-burning, smokeless powders became available, only then did it become practical to arm your forces with a shorter, universal rifle that could be used by infantry and cavalry alike.

But I'll agree that two single shot pistols would be better than one. Fortunately, the rolling block was made as a pistol and a carbine as well as rifle.

Image

This also has the initial advantage that the troops only have to be taught one weapon initially, which simplifies training as well. Later on, after they are battle hardened and confident, they can be trained up on more modern equipment as it becomes available.

And being an extremely simple design, these could be churned out in very large numbers until we have tooled up for the production of more modern repeating firearms.

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Postby Perinquus » 2003-02-25 12:24pm

Dang it! Why is there no edit button on this forum? I hate seeing typos that slipped by me the first time, and being unable to correct them.

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Postby Patrick Ogaard » 2003-02-25 12:51pm

Perinquus wrote:
Patrick Ogaard wrote:
Perinquus wrote:A breechloading carbine and a single pistol would be better.


The simplest thing for mass production of the breechloading long guns would be to skip the entire rifle/carbine distinction from the 18th and 19th centuries and go straight to a short rifle. A breechloader does not have to be as short as a muzzleloader to be usable from horseback, and any long range fire is likely to come from dismounted cavalry in any event. (Suitably long spike bayonets for the infantry can bring the total length back up to the approximately six feet necessary.

The pistols are just insurance for close combat, especially against armored opponents, and in melee having a pair of single-shot pistols is better than having one (and beats having a sword unless the pistol is empty). Even many Civil War cavalrymen carried paired revolvers, admittedly in a holdover from the single-shot days.


I would agree with the short, universal rifle concept, except for one thing, if we are using black powder propellant (which we probably would at first, given that it's much easier to make), then a long rifle is desireable. Black powder is slow burning, and needs a long barrel to ensure more completel combustion of the powder charge before the bullet leaves the muzzle. If the bullet leaves the barrel before combustion is complete, you get excessive muzzle blast, excessive flash, increased felt recoil, and reduced velocity of your projectile, which diminishes stopping power.

Carbines were used for cavalry during the black powder era because a long rifle such as the infantry used simply was not practical from horseback. You just accepted the extra recoil, blast, and flash, along with reduced velocity as the unavoidable penalty for making the weapon short enough for use from horseback. When faster-burning, smokeless powders became available, only then did it become practical to arm your forces with a shorter, universal rifle that could be used by infantry and cavalry alike.

But I'll agree that two single shot pistols would be better than one. Fortunately, the rolling block was made as a pistol and a carbine as well as rifle.

Image

This also has the initial advantage that the troops only have to be taught one weapon initially, which simplifies training as well. Later on, after they are battle hardened and confident, they can be trained up on more modern equipment as it becomes available.

And being an extremely simple design, these could be churned out in very large numbers until we have tooled up for the production of more modern repeating firearms.


Those rolling block pistols are exactly the guns I was thinking of.

Your point on the black powder and the link between barrel length and combustion is well taken.

I just think that smokeless powder would be simpler and would simultaneously solve the problem of having an intermediate barrel length. The two basic ingredients needed are nitric acid and cellulose. The fully stocked chemistry lab, under the administration of the scientific staff, would have to figure out how to produce usable quantities of nitric acid. Combined in proper proportion with sawdust or, better yet, with cotton, we would have basic smokeless powder in the form of gun cotton. Of course, one might have to moderate the stuff with an admixture of untreated cotton or sawdust to keep chamber pressures under control, but it would solve the problem of an intermediate barrel length.

Common gunpowder, on the other hand, requires sulphur, saltpeter and charcoal. The charcoal would be easy enough to get if a charcoal burner were recruited and settled in the vicinity of the base, and notoriously poor charcoal burners would likely jump at the chance. I have no idea how sulphur could be acquired except from pre-existing deposits likely under the control of dwarfs or orcs. As for saltpeter, it's hardly impossible to acquire, but that means access to something like suitable caves full of bats, lots of time and the urine of livestock, or old cellars with fuzzy walls.

Of course, the choice of powder really does not make that much of a difference in the end. If the available powder allows for an intermediate-length barrel for all long guns, that's the way to go. If not, one divides into cavalry carbines and infantry rifles.


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