Drakafic questions

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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-07-24 06:40pm

The British clung to the idea of the dedicated close support tank to the bitter end of the war, designing a Centurion tank to mount the 95mm howitzer, so god only knows what they might have really done for anti tank armament. That was besides the stock Centurion also already having a 20mm cannon on the basis that it could pierce the gun shields on German anti tank guns and generally suppress infantry too. Plus the option always exists for automatic 2pdr... which is what they actually had wanted on the WW1 heavy tanks. Absurd, of course, but that doesn't mean we can't dream of a a tank with a squeeze bore Molins gun. Still nothing like the silly that is the concept of 'high mechanized apartheid slave army takes over the world'.

I'd also love a towed version of the twin 6pdr coastal gun for that matter. Not being silly in return was a probably the biggest mistake about Drakfic. It would have made the whole process less tedious.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby darthkommandant » 2012-07-26 07:52pm

Ive always wondered what happened to the various countries airship programs? We know from the timeline that a zeppelin was used during the coup in Hungary to land special forces. That implied that Germany had zeppelins but what about the USA, Great Britian, The Soviets the Drakans ect. Also does the Bismarck and the Tripitz get built as well?
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-07-28 02:35am

The abandon data pages have an entry for the German surface fleet you know. The Bismarck class did not exist nor did Scharnhorst as we know it because the design of those ships was heavily influenced by political considerations that would not exist in this timeline. Other stuff did exist instead.

Airships are a joke for anything but anti submarine patrols in a WW2 environment, and that's a job best done by a cheap blimp, not a massively expensive rigid airship like a Zeppelin. A handful might have been around, leftover civilian transports but they could not play a serious role in such a war. Its kind of a problem when even the most obsolete fighter can blow one out of the sky easily and the things are highly vulnerable to bad weather. Landing special forces inside a densely populated country is about the worst possible mission for one, such retardation is the kind of thing that was to be cut out of Drakafic.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-07-28 11:26am

Yeah.

Basically, military zeppelins worked in World War One because no one had evolved any serious defenses to counter them. The masses of guns to throw shells into the air (which had a good chance of hitting anything as big as a zeppelin, even if they'd miss planes) weren't around. The fighters were still having trouble climbing to altitudes of 10-20 thousand feet, only carried a couple of rifle-caliber machine guns, and didn't really go that much faster than modern automobiles. And the information control wasn't there to coordinate it all.

Unless you can cook up some kind of magic fabric umpteen times stronger than Kevlar to make the envelopes out of, it's not going to work in an environment with serious ground-based AA guns and post-1930 fighters. They're not fast, they're not armored, and they're not sneaky. And if you don't have at least one of those going for you, you can't survive on a WWII battlefield.

Airships make considerably more sense in both the other settings I've seen Stirling use them in (Peshawar Lancers and 'Isle in the Sea of Time), because in both of those places, you're operating under ~1900 limits on industry and technology. And your enemies are even more primitive than you, or a lot of them are, so you can fly a blimp at five thousand feet and it's nigh-immune to enemy attack. And a top speed of sixty miles an hour is fast, not the slowest thing in the sky.

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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-07-28 11:59am

Even if you could make the airship out of 2in thick steel armor that wouldn't stop a fighter with a 40mm gun from blowing hundreds of holes in it as it lumbered across the sky as a skyscraper sized target. Some Zeppelins in 1914 were actually shot down with rifles.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Thanas » 2012-07-28 12:43pm

The Germans in OTL had their large Zeppelins perform air reconnaissance and measure radar signals in the first war months of 1939, but both were quickly scrapped in 1940.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Sidewinder » 2012-07-28 12:53pm

So Zeppelins are too vulnerable for military service in WW2. How about civilian use, e.g., as freighters and airliners? Or do the ease with which high winds and other weather conditions, render them more trouble than they're worth?
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-07-29 01:55am

Sidewinder wrote:So Zeppelins are too vulnerable for military service in WW2. How about civilian use, e.g., as freighters and airliners? Or do the ease with which high winds and other weather conditions, render them more trouble than they're worth?
In that niche, dirigibles were totally outcompeted by airplanes.

The big area where dirigibles had an advantage was in water crossings, because they were much faster than even the fastest ships on the water. On land, they're really not that much faster than passenger locomotives, except maybe over mountains where it's dangerous to operate an airship anyway.

But as soon as commercial airplanes that could carry a few tons of cargo, dirigibles stop making much sense. Something like a DC-3 is twice as fast as any dirigible, carrying damn near as much weight (compared to typical dirigibles). And the DC-3 is much, much smaller and cheaper to operate.

Big record-setters like the Hindenburg last longer, but even there, something like a Constellation, which was possible by the early 1940s, would totally put them out of business.

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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2012-07-29 02:23am

It was in the Drakaficverse, and it was a regularly scheduled passenger Zeppelin flight that disgorged commandos instead of civilian passengers at the aerodrome in Budapest to seize it for the arriving landing aircraft with the rest of the force.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2012-07-29 02:26am

Sidewinder wrote:So Zeppelins are too vulnerable for military service in WW2. How about civilian use, e.g., as freighters and airliners? Or do the ease with which high winds and other weather conditions, render them more trouble than they're worth?


They have a limited potential niche for both long duration overflight surveillance and maritime patrol as well as airborne early warning; and a longer niche for outsized cargo transport. Basically the very largest proposed airships from the 1960s at about 1,200 feet long could carry the same amount of cargo (225 tonnes) as an An-225 Mriya and can hover. This makes them great for doing things like carrying wind turbine blades, and absolutely no other useful role whatsoever.... I am pretty sure you could maintain a single successful worldwide outsized cargo business with about a dozen airships in the modern world, but that would be the absolute limit of their potential.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby darthkommandant » 2012-07-29 07:25am

I just went through the German fleet part of the writers bible again. Looks like the Bismarck class aren't needed as their first true BB''s are H-39 class. ( as opposed to large cruiser killers like the Scharnhorst class in this time line) Im just surprised the German navy didn't use the names Bismarck and Tirpitz for their ships but theirs always the post war era right? :twisted: I wonder if a zeppelin could be used as a lighter than air AWACS with 2 radar sets on board one to look at the ocean one to look at the air would be of any use to the allies. Or would their vulnerability to weather and fighter planes. (I'd hate to se what a Bf 110 or in this case the drakan equivalent would do to a zeppelin) make it not worth the trouble.
Last edited by darthkommandant on 2012-07-29 07:28am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby darthkommandant » 2012-07-29 07:26am

oops mod delete please.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2012-07-29 03:17pm

They can be used for homeland defence as radar platforms, but would be more useful and effective in that role against something like a V-1. For the most part the large number built are used for maritime patrol and surveillance, some for cargo freight.

Anyway, the name Bismarck wouldn't be used. The old Imperial Navy name of Fürst Bismarck would be used in this case, with the restoration of the monarchy occurring in ~1941 with Fürst Goering as Regent. Goering doesn't actually relinquish the throne until the late 1950s to Kaiser Wilhelm's grandson rather than son, behaving a lot like Franco in that respect.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-07-29 04:29pm

I'm surprised he lasted that long; his health wasn't too good in OTL WWII. What changed?

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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2012-07-29 06:17pm

Simon_Jester wrote:I'm surprised he lasted that long; his health wasn't too good in OTL WWII. What changed?


Goering wasn't the one shot at the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler was. So Goering never got addicted to drugs, became the leader of the NSDAP, and became a Franco-like dictator in ruling Germany rather than going all the way to full-blown Nazism.
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Re: Drakafic questions

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-07-31 06:17pm

Thanas wrote:The Germans in OTL had their large Zeppelins perform air reconnaissance and measure radar signals in the first war months of 1939, but both were quickly scrapped in 1940.


The one attempt to measure British radar was a prewar operation in August 1939. It failed completely because the Germans had not expected the British to use HF radar and had the wrong equipment, and was recognized by the British as being a recon mission too.

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:They can be used for homeland defence as radar platforms, but would be more useful and effective in that role against something like a V-1. For the most part the large number built are used for maritime patrol and surveillance, some for cargo freight.


Slight problem is what happens when a passing bomber rakes the zeppelin with machine gun fire as it buzzes past. A jet AEW plane is vulnerable enough already, and reliability of WW2 radar equipment will not allow you to make long patrols to exploit the airship endurance unless you have a serious onboard repair capability. You might be able to go a few days, but certainly not weeks on end like people want them to do today.

The USN actually converted several N class blimps to have air search and height finding radar in the 1960s, mainly as an experiment for replacing peacetime picket ships off the US coastline. Like the picket ships they were not expected to serve as much more then a tripwire early warning system. In the end the picket ships, Texas Towers, Blimps and several other projects were replaced by what became the E-3 Sentry.
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