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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:04am
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Sith Marauder
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Joined: 2011-04-22 11:04pm
Posts: 4522
Location: Ocularis Terribus.
Yeah, I went there.

A while back I reread the first two Posleen War books, the only two I own, largely to reaffirm for myself how cool the ACS were. Well, I tried to look up information on the suits, but found only forums like this, with impassioned rants about the books. Since the books never lay out the capabilities, but scatter tidbits throughout, I found myself dog-earing pages where suit abilities and limits were mentioned for future reference. Then I started doing my analysis of Age of Darkness...and I figured, why not? It could be fun and will definitly kill some time to go over this.

I'd like to be clear, I'm doing this mostly from boredom, and a desire to produce a resource for vs. debates by collecting the disparate data in one place. I am not planning on speaking of the politics, the quality of writing, or anything relating to John Kratman, though I can't promise my frustration won't bleed thorugh at points. This is purely in-universe technical capabilities. I have only read the two books I own, plus the first third or so of the third book. Skimmed Hell's Faire. Haven't touched any of the spin-offs.

In case you don't know the plot: basically Alien reptile-centaurs, the Posleen are going to invade earth. Different, but only mildly less hostile aliens give us a five-year heads up and technology with which to defend ourselves and them (they aren't really capable of violence.) They create a conference, called Galtech, to integrate alien technology into ours, and adapt their tech to our needs, and they come up with some really cool power armor, the Armored Combat Suit (ACS.) which are largely run by AI Device (AID) but require human supervision. That should be enough to get started, for now I'm only going to do the first book: A Hymn Before Battle.

ACS:
Pg 90
Quote:
It was about the size of the pack of Marlboros in his left breast pocket and flat, absorbent black, very similar in appearance to their AIDs. Black as an Ace of Spades. And, somehow, it projected a field you could not put a .308 round through. He’d already tried. Several times just to be sure. And it didn’t even move the box when the shells ricocheted off; that was freaky. Mind you, the guys around him moved prrrretty (sic) damn fast when those .308 rounds came back up range at the Fort Bragg Rod and Gun club.
Okay, so it stopped bullets. But the field only extended out about seven feet in either direction and it stopped when it touched an obstacle. Just stopped, which sucked when you thought about it. And you should be able to brace it into something, not just depend on whatever it was that kept it in place. He’d had a little talk with his AID and it turned out the damn thing had some sort of safety lock.

The personal force field is a bit of supplementary equipment for the ACS battalions. Interesting that it stops bullets, since (much later) it was said that the force fields were only issued to give them a chance against heavy plasma or laser weapons. It certainly does fuck all against railgun rounds. Then again, there is a slight difference between a heavy railgun and Duncan’s little sidearm.

I’m not really sure what he meant by needing to brace it, unless he’s concerned about the generator flying off when something impacts the field, or the force field ‘stopping’ when it contacts an obstacle. At first read through, I took that to mean that the field doesn’t encompass obstacles but only forms a barrier behind them. Subsequent read-throughs are more ambiguous. Is it possible that that there is no field behind an interrupting object and any cover taken becomes a weakness in the field (kind of like the Spoil of Vervunhive in Necropolis)? I don’t know. But we learn a bit more about the force field a page later, when Duncan tries his grand experiment of turning off all of the safeties and turning it on. Show of hands, who thinks that will end well?

Quote:
The Personal Force Field unit functioned by generating a focused plane of weak force energy as analogous to a laser beam as a line is to a plane, meaning not. The unit was designed to produce a circle 12 meters in diameter for 45 minutes. Given the option of maximum generation, it generated a circle 1250 meters square for 3 milliseconds before failing.

Some nice numbers to play with, and a few questions. For one, why is the field so wide across? Most battles last considerably longer than forty-five minutes, can the PFF be recharged or hooked up to the suit’s power supply? I can’t really think of many circumstances where it would be helpful to shield a square kilometer for just a few milliseconds, and you can do it and time it properly, but it’s nice to have options. You’ll quickly see that should be GalTech’s (the designers of the suits) motto: it’s nice to have options.

Pretty sure the ‘focused plane of weak force energy’ is inane techno-babble, but if anyone thinks you could actually make a force field that way, I’m interested to hear it. If I was less lazy, and thought that Ringo put that much thought into it, I could probably calc the field’s power consumption, or at least how it scales up.

Quote:
The plane sliced as effectively as a katana in air through all the surrounding material, severing I-beams, bed structures, wall lockers and, in the unfortunate case of Sergeant Duncan’s roommate, limbs.

In addition, the throughput on the unit exceeded the parameters of the superconductive circuitry, and waste heat raised the case temperature to over two hundred degrees Celsius.
Oh, so that’s why there are safeties on the things. Good to know. This one accident indirectly leads to much death on Diess, since it inspires the battalion commander to lock up all of the ACS gear and not really train the battalion in their new tech.

Also we have room temperature superconductors that only generate heat when they overload. And a small pet peeve of mine, Ringo keeps jumping back and forth between metric and imperial for no real reason. Sometimes the temperature is given in Celsius, sometimes in Fahrenheit. Ranges are given in miles, and later in kilometers. It’s maddening. David Weber does the same thing, by the way. I don’t really have a problem with people using either system, sometimes I convert to imperial in my head just because it’s what I grew up with, but Valen’s name, pick a system of measurement and stick to it!

Pg 261
Passing mention of a Personal Area Field (PAF) which is generally identical in appearance and capabilities to the above, but instead of enclosing one in a sphere, it just makes a wall that lets fire out but not in. Handy.

Pg 113
Quote:
“Do they have Banshees?” The anti-grav armored fighting vehicles were critical for strategic mobility in the ACS.
“Very few. And the artillery support is 105, 155, and MLRs. The HOW-2000 is being held back.”

APCs for suit units and GalTech artillery. Neither really appears on Diess, and only the Banshees appear briefly later on Earth, so I can’t really comment much on their performance. Only that suit doctrine was clearly written with these things in mind. Presumably, like most everything promised by the Darhel, the vehicles and artillery arrive in limited numbers and far too late to do much good.

Pg 130
Quote:
“The difference between ACS and normal infantry tactics is that ACS calls for much more in the way of shock and speed tactics. Airborne infantry is deliberate compared to ACS: ACS is more like armored cav. We’re going to train on a few simple maneuvers at first. Think of them like football plays: wedge, echelon right, echelon left, lean right, lean left and bounding line. And the only way to train for open field ACS combat is at the run. We’re going to start off slow then work up to speed.”

ACS tactics and suit-less training. Always nice to see someone thinking about how power armor would change tactics instead of “and now the super-elite infantry is super-strong and bullet-proof so they roflstomp everything in their path!”

Right, let’s talk about suit weapons.

Pg 134
Quote:
“Maximum effective range of the M-403 suit grenade launcher?”
“Uh, a klick, sir?”
“Twelve hundred meters. Close but no cigar.”

Fun with ordinance. It’s raining explosive death from 1.2 kilometers away!

Pg 413
Quote:
The grenades were antimatter charges wrapped with osmium self-forging projectiles. Each had the explosive power of a 120mm mortar. They had a hard kill radius, a zone of total destruction, of fifteen meters and a soft kill radius of nearly thirty-five meters. Using them at all with the Panzergrenadiere in close contact was dangerous. However, since they did not have as much shrapnel as a 120mm, they were slightly less effective at distance; the "soft-kill" zone had less than a fifteen percent likelihood of a kill against human targets in the open.
The programmed fire shot a double line of grenades down the 75-meter-wide boulevard, the grenades landing 15 meters from the Posleen-held building and 20 meters apart. Thus the total destruction zone stretched outward 50 meters from the Posleen-held megascraper with a further "soft kill" distance of 25 meters. The line stretched from thirty meters in front of the combat suit line for nearly a kilometer.

Suit launched grenades. Not much more I can add to this.

Pg 134
Quote:
“The M-300 grav rifle has the ability to leave earth’s orbit, sir. It will hit something as far away as you can aim.”

Obviously, the range of the grav rifle. I’m tempted to start about Sir Isaac Newton being the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the universe, but it’s been done. Actually, this is retcon-inaccurate, in the third book it’s stated that the old grav rifle projectiles turned to vapor after ten kilometers or so at sea level, and the new ones have more-or-less unlimited range.

Pg 284
Quote:
The depleted uranium pellets of the grav guns traveled at a noticeable fraction of the speed of light. The designers had carefully balanced maximum kinetic effect against the problem of relativistic ionization and its accompanying radiation. The result was a tiny teardrop that went so fast it defied description. It made any bullet ever made seem to stand still. Far faster than any meteor, rounds that did not impact left the planet's orbit to become a spatial navigation hazard. It punched a hole through the atmosphere so fierce that it stripped the electrons from the atoms of gas and turned them into ions. The energy bled in its travel was so high it created a shock front of electromagnetic pulse. Then, after it passed, the atoms and electrons recombined in a spectacular display of chemistry and physics. Photons of light were discharged, heat was released and free radicals, ozone and Bucky balls were produced. The major by-product was the tunnel of energetic ions indistinguishable from lightning. Just as hot, and just as energetic. A natural spark plug.

Again, later accounts put “noticeable fraction of the speed of light” at about 0.3 c. DU is a bit denser than lead, about 1.9 grams per cubic centimeter, but a grav gun round is 3mm across and 2 long. I’m not sure whether to treat the fat teardrop shape as a cylinder or maybe a cone, so I’ll do the cylinder to keep it simple. And so, 14 cubic mm, easily converted to 1.4 cm3 volume gives mass=2.66 grams. Abuse Atomic Rocket’s KE calculator and I get 10 terajoules of kinetic energy per grav gun round or a little over 2 kilotons of tnt. That’s… a fair bit of firepower for infantry.
And you can see the reason I normally let other people do the calcs. Also, the visual effect of a grav gun firing is a constant flickering stream of lightning from the barrel. Even I have to admit, that’s pretty metal. The escape thing may still be possible if they were fired more or less straight up, the atmosphere gets a lot thinner after 11 km or so.

Quote:
In two seconds a thousand of these supremely destructive teardrops punched through fifty drums of fish oil. One pellet was enough to finely distribute a drum of oil over two to three thousand cubic meters of air.

What? This is one guy firing one grav gun, so they fire 500 rounds a second? 30,000 rounds a minute? That’s a touch extreme, especially considering the absurd destructive power of each round. True, they’re meant to kill Posleen in the tens of thousands, maybe even the millions, but think about it for a second. One guy just fired off a thousand rounds at fifty Posleen. Where do they get the ammo for that? How many thousands of rounds are wasted in every engagement? Now I know what you’re saying, modern assault rifles can empty their magazines in about three seconds tops. It’s true. That’s why they’re generally fired in bursts, unless giving suppressive fire. These guys just hose it around like every shot is a live grenade they’re trying to get rid of.
And, effect of grav gun round hitting a barrel full of liquid.

Pg 410
Quote:
The hypervelocity grav-gun rounds caused an energy wave front to build up in front of them. As the stream of rounds hit an individual Posleen, the effect was catastrophic; the hydrostatic wave front advanced away from the rounds at a fraction of the speed of light. Despite the relatively small size of the teardrops, the explosive force on the first Posleen hit was equivalent to packing a hundred pounds of TNT into its body cavity and detonating it, splattering yellow finely distributed muck over the landscape. And then the teardrops, hardly degraded in form or velocity, would seek out the next Posleen in line, and the next and the next. Most of the fire drove six or seven layers into the mass, cleaving them like a nuclear weedeater.

Effects of grav gun on massed living targets. Unless I was way off in my KE equations (quite possible) the shots should probably be going a fair bit further than six or seven bodies in.

Pg 369
Quote:
As the suit careted the Posleen, Mike's pistol locked onto them automatically. The God Kings were concentrating on the undefended shuttles and Mike's first silvery burst swept two of them out of the sky from three kilometers away, one of the vehicles disappearing in actinic fire as the relativistic teardrops searched out its power supply.

Grav pistol. Not as powerful as the rifle, but still quick and accurate enough to casually kill from 3 klicks away.

Pg 450
Quote:
The rifle ammunition used a dollop of antimatter as its propellant charge. Under normal use a small energy field, similar in design to the personal protection field, would reach out and shatter the miniature stabilization field that prevented the antimatter from contacting regular matter. Another field held the antimatter away from the breech of the weapon so that it only contacted the depleted uranium teardrop. When the antimatter touched the uranium, the two types of matter were instantly converted into a massive outpouring of energy.
This energy was captured in a very efficient manner and used to accelerate the uranium round down the barrel of the grav-gun.

Grav gun mechanics.

Pg 174
Quote:
“A standard suit has two hundred thirty-eight discrete functions that can be combined in a near-infinite number of permutations. For full ability a soldier needs to be able to multi-task at least three in a combat environment. I mean, you can get by with just one or two, but three to five is “run, jump, and shoot” infantry. A command suit has four hundred eighty-two discrete functions. Its primary problems, almost faults, are information overload and function difficulty. Unless you have an AID that is really attuned to your needs you risk overload of C3I-” Command, Communication, Control and Intelligence “-flow. You either overload on information or filter out too much, either of which is dangerous. As to purely suit functions, a command suit has so many special functions designed to permit the commander to keep up with highly mobile units and keep him alive, that you again risk either overload or suit drain.”

Number of suit functions. This is probably a good time to mention that by midway through the first book, there are four suit designs in common use. You have the standard model, which all statements about suits should apply to unless otherwise specified. Then, a scout version that can run a bit faster and jump a bit higher/further and is apparently somewhat stealthier, but is also more lightly armored. Then a combat engineer suit that has all the attributes of a regular suit but looks ‘like a grape with arms and legs’ because it also has compartments for carrying an extra hundred kilos or so of explosives and detonators. This suit variant is later used for combat medics, usual suit gear, plus a lot of storage space.

Then we have the Command suits, issues to everyone Captain or higher. They’re more heavily armored (to what extent, it’s hard to be sure) have a better power plant, additional computer support, and several hundred command and control options that regular suits don’t have, and they can consistently outperform other suits in any area where their superior power reserve is a factor. Presumably they’re more costly or somesuch, since not everyone gets one. Then again, information overload is apparently a moderately serious issue.

Pg 176
Quote:
Virtual Reality sunglasses nicknamed Milspecs.

Just a passing reference to Milspecs, glasses that connect to an AID and can function like a screen, even allowing typing on an imaginary keyboard, or be used in training to create VR environments.

Quote:
Battle Silks- officially Uniform, Utility, Ground Forces-was the uniform developed for day to day use by CES and ACS infantry. It was not designed for combat, and since it was designed by a GalTech team, they rammed through a uniform based on comfort and style. Light gray in color, it looked something like a hooded kimono. The material, cotton run treated through an Indowy process to “improve” it, was as smooth as silk, lightweight, and temperature reactive. With a few twists to close or open throat and cuffs it was comfortable from one hundred to zero degrees Fahrenheit.

The uniform for ACS troopers when not in their power armor. Can’t say I like the thought of the color or the style, but I’m mildly intrigued by this ‘improved’ cotton.

Pg 179
Quote:
“Now I’m doing drugs, but they’re fully authorized, sir. Sudden cessation of VR training systems, such as when you’re killed or when a senior officer walks into the room, causes such severe physiological reactions that we rammed two Galtech meds through the authorization process. One is a really super analgesic that is stopping the blazing headache I would otherwise have right now and the other is an anti-nauseate I didn’t get to in time.”

VR sickness, its symptoms and the measures taken against it. The FDA must really love GalTech, they’re just making friends everywhere.

Pg 261
Quote:
The lieutenant tried to shake his head and stopped when he had to force it against the biotic gel filling the helmet.
The Jell-O-like material completely filled the helmet and the interior of the suit. It was responsible for more than a third of the cost of the armor and the only major part that was not, at bottom, O’Neal’s concept.
Putting on the helmet of a combat suit was something like putting you head inside a bucket full of jam. However, the material completely cushioned the wearer against the most extreme shocks and had a series of other important functions. It read the user’s movement intentions through their own neural net and drove the suit accordingly. It recycled waste into potable water, edible food and breathable air. And it had enough medical technology and ability to keep its “Protoplasmic Intelligence System” alive as long as they did not take a direct hit to the heart, brain or upper spine.

This is really what makes the ACS different from every other bargain-basement power armor in every sci-fi series (except, you know, Armor.) Food, air and water for a month or so is nice, and it has tons of extras, but the protective qualities are the biggest selling point. Any weapon used against ACS armor must first penetrate at least one (and possibly more) force field, then penetrate the heavy armor (and there’s another system I’ll mention in a minute that makes that fiendishly difficult) and even then it won’t kill the wearer unless they hit one of the few critical areas. Besides having a sizeable reservoir of advanced Galatic drugs, the gel is a medium for all sorts of nanotech, mostly medical, but they repair the suit, recycle waste etc. Men in suits lose their arms and are back in action within ten seconds (one armed action, granted.) The survivability of the suits is insane, men survive truly stupid amounts of firepower, FAE, a nuclear detonation, and having mega-tons of material dropped on them from great heights.
Albeit, the Posleen mono-edge knives pop open suits with ease, HVMs turn them into smears, and there’s still a bit of a problem with heavy railguns. Still, these things may actually be safer than 40k Terminator armor.
Quote:
Since there was no way to actually see through the underlayer, the helmet was totally opaque. What the user saw was a high-quality representation cast by tiny laser-diodes that threaded out of the helmet wall. Instead of turning his head, when a trooper made a movement to look from side-to-side the viewpoint shifted. It was somewhat like controlling point-of-view with a joystick. Again, it took some getting used to. There was no feeling of motion, so it could induce motion sickness, and a trooper could suddenly find himself looking backwards by overdriving the viewpoint controls. Similar leads tapped the mastoid bone for sound conduction.
For comfort, the helmet would let the users move their heads side to side, but only slowly. However, since the diodes could do all sorts of neat tricks with vision, the peripheral vision was actually superior to normal and far and near sighting was enhanced. That was before any special requests like “heads up” displays, weaponry displays, distant viewing, split screen viewing or sixty-seven other visual abilities.

Early on in the second book, it mentions that the suits automatically provide a uniform light level, so no shadows and no dark corners where things can hide. On the other hand, that goes a long way to making everything feel more like a videogame, and long-time suit users can get really disconnected from reality.

Pg 276
Quote:
“Michelle, give me an RBG representation of Indowy, Posleen, and humans within the nine-block sector.”

The AID flashed a three-D representation of the nine megascrapers, then began drawing in Posleen, human, and Indowy concentrations in red, green and blue.
Yes, gaming fans, the suits can even provide a mini-map. In 3-D. With the positions of friendly, hostile and neutral units. Between this and the shadow-less vision, war really is turning into a video game.

Pg 261
Command suits can access the visual feeds from other suits. This may or may not be a general suit ability.

Pg 277
Command suits can control fixed heavy weapon emplacements, at least two at a time. This, at least, is an ability unique to the command suits.

Pg 376
Quote:
"Scouts, your job is to emplace some charges, but mainly I want you to launch flicker-eyes across the unmined buildings. You should be above the line of fire but if the Posleen notice you you'll be in for a hot time tonight."

Scout suits carry tiny stealthy hover-cams.

Pg 408
Quote:
At the same time, cloaked by their holographic technology, the scouts flew unnoticed to the nearest windows, gossamer soap bubbles floating through the green-tinged air, and rushed to find sniper positions.

Scouts used as snipers. The suits can hover for short periods and fly for short distances, and the stealth systems still hold up.

Pg 310
Quote:
The suit local transmission system used directional pulses of monoperiodic subspace transmissions. The transmissions were traded in a distributed network from one suit that was in sight to another, shuttling through the group in the same manner as a data packet in the internet. Since the transmission simply jumped from one suit to the next, the power was a trickle and the likelihood of detection or interception was next to nothing.

Suit communications are designed to be as difficult as possible to detect or intercept.

Pg 333-34
Quote:
Meanwhile Mike gathered the NCOs around and sketched out an initial order of movement. The engineers suddenly became critical to the success of the mission. Withal they could move nearly as fast as the infantry they supported, their armor was so bulged with storage they looked like walking grapes. Most of the storage was detonators and triggering devices. When it came down to it, there were lots of things that one could convince to explode, if one had a detonator and, although there were a number of ways to convince a detonator to explode, the best ways involved being far away at the time. So, rather than load up on explosives and light on detonators, they went the other way. They did carry twenty kilos of C-9, reduced somewhat from the tunneling, but it was a minor chunk of their storage.
The armor was circled with storage compartments, each designed precisely for explosives storage. The store points had blow-out panels and two of them had blown out on one of the engineers during the explosion under Qualtren; it gave him a lopsided look. Now they opened the compartments and started distributing their packages of good cheer. Every troop took fifty detonators and triggering devices. The triggering devices were fairly intelligent receivers that could be set to detonate by time or on receipt of a signal. In addition, the platoon redistributed their own C-9 so that each of them had at least a half kilo; that would be enough for their purposes.
\Engineering suits. When you come down to it, there are also a number of ways to convince explosives to go boom without detonators. Though I can appreciate not wanting to carry a ton of explosives on yourself.

Pg 281
Quote:
There were six high-density inertial compensators along the spine of the suit. They had been placed there to prevent severe inertial damage to the most vital portions of the user. Lieutenant O’Neal launched himself into the air and away from the threat, an instinct of hundreds of hours of simulations, while his AID dialed the inertial compensators as low as they would go. This had several effects, good and bad, but the net effect was to make it less likely that the flechettes would penetrate his armor as they had the private’s; at this range their penetration ability was vastly increased.
The lack of inertia permitted the suit to be moved aside or pushed away as if no more substantial than a hummingbird. Combined with the strength of the armor it successfully shed the first sleet of rounds, but it made him as unstable as a Ping-Pong ball in a hurricane. He was picked up by the impacts, flipped repeatedly end for end, struck the warehouse wall, and blown sideways.

The system I was talking about earlier. Good luck hitting the suits with kinetic impactors, they can just amp up the inertial dampening and go along for the ride. Well, until they get smashed into something at high velocities. I assume that’s where the expensive super shock-absorbing gelatin comes in.

Pg 340
Quote:
"If we can't avoid a group of Posleen, charge 'em, concentrating on the ones with the heavy railguns. The light guns can't penetrate our armor so don't bother with them. After we take down the ones with the heavy weapons, we can finish off the rest like killing fish in a barrel.”

The light 1mm railguns are considered a negligible threat, even at close ranges. Even the 3mm heavies are only dangerous at close ranges or in the event of a lucky shot.

Pg 373
Quote:
A burst of fire into the energy pack of the nearest saucer devoured the vehicle in a shattering explosion. He rode out the explosion as if it were an epiphany, staring into the fire like a soul in hell. There was no danger; the suits could shrug off any explosion short of the sort of cataclysm that struck Qualtren. And even then they could give it a run for its money.

Point blank detonation of a tenar is not a serious threat to an ACS trooper. I believe in the first chapters of book 3 it’s said that when hit, a tenar does a wonderful impression of a 500 lb. bomb.

Pg 370
Quote:
The suits were doing a good job of mimicking the top of a building in every frequency so the Posleen thought there was a sole human to deal with.

Suit stealth system can fool Posleen eyes and the sensors of a tenar.

Pg 445
Quote:
Mike leapt across the roofs at full speed with his deception systems on maximum. Besides the camouflage hologram, now carefully mimicking the color and texture of the rooftop, a modification of the personal protection field warped radar and subspace detectors around him while a tiny subspace field reduced movement turbulence and sonic signature. The host of deceptions appeared to work like a charm; the C-Dec was content to concentrate its fire on the human-occupied building

More on the stealth systems. They’re also good against radar, subspace sensors, and the ability to detect turbulence from their air passage. Now why they don’t fit these same systems onto fighter jets is more than I can say. Perhaps there are some limits that aren’t clear.

Pg 351
Quote:
He started off with a limp, but his suit's biomechanical repair processes were already underway. The armor's auto-doc administered a local stun and jetted the area with quick-heal, antibiotics and oxygen. The inner skin of the armor sealed the area, reducing blood loss and pumping the leakage away to be recycled into rations and air. At the same time, nano-repair systems began the task of replacing the outer "hard" armor one molecular-sized patch at a time. Given enough time, energy and materials, the self-repair systems would completely heal even major damage.

Suit medical technology. Immediate local anesthetic and antibiotic, direct pressure on wound, plus an agent to encourage rapid healing. Also, the suits self-repair over time with nano-tech.

Pg 371
Quote:
"I'm hit!" screamed one of the troops, followed by a bemused, "I thought I was hit." He sat on the roof looking at his thigh. "Am I hit?"
"You're hit," said Mike, belatedly falling to a prone position. "Everybody get down, dammit. Don't sweat it, your suit will take care of it."

That local anesthetic is pretty damn impressive.

Pg 434
Quote:
A sudden searing pain jerked him into wakefulness and was as quickly gone.
"What the hell was that?" he mumbled blearily.
"I applied direct pain stimulation to your nervous system," the AID answered nervously.
"Well, next time try shaking the suit or something, okay? That hurt like hell." He checked the time and shook his head. It would just have to do.

Suit can directly affect nervous system. In this case, a jolt of pain to wake the user.

Pg 308
Quote:
The grenade idea worked well except in the case of one unfortunate private who discovered after arming the grenade that he could not retract his arm. Fortunately GalTech medical technology could regenerate the missing hand if they ever got back to friendly lines. Given that the pain was quite brief, the suit sealed the breach and pain-blocked the damage almost instantly, it caused a certain amount of black humor at his expense. It only got worse when he told them his last words were, "This is gonna huurt."

More suit medical technology. Guy loses an arm but is still fine to fight. When he gets back to base, they can regenerate the arm, but he’ll always be “Lefty” to the men who fought on Diess. On the same page, we see the effects of Hiberzine, a suspended animation drug that can be dispensed by the suits.

Quote:
Mike studied the schematic again, flexing his hand idly. The AID automatically adjusted the resistance of the glove to that of the torsional device he normally used.

And the suit can be used as exercise gear, resisting one’s movements to a preset degree. Not really relevant to combat or vs. debates, but I love how insanely engineered these things are. Here, the glove is functioning as a stress ball.

Pg 333
Quote:
They had been up since before dawn, fought a "murthering great battle," been blown up by a catastrophic explosion, tunneled out of hell, swum the Stygian depths and now had to go on after a ten minute stop. Well, that was what technology was for. "Michelle, order all the AIDs to administer Provigil-C."
The drug was a combination of a Terran antinarcolepsy drug and a Galactic stimulant. The Terran drug prevented sleep from forming. However it was believed that the stresses of combat were such that more than an antinarcotic was necessary.
When the powerful and persistent Galactic stimulant started coursing through their veins, the troops started to move.

Provigil-C, suit carried stimulant, that is a mixture of Earth and Galactic pharmaceuticals. Allegedly good for ten hours (Pg 351) but were tested for three days of simulated combat without rest, and the test pilots were fine. However, this batch is tainted in that it contains only the Galactic superstimulant and not Provigil, the anti-narcoleptic that normally mitigates the side effects, stretches out the effects and keeps people from crashing when it wears off.
Pg 459
Quote:
"Well, we checked that lovely little pharmacy in your suits after it happened. You know that the 'Wake-the-Deads' are loaded into the suit, not produced by it, right?"
"Yes, sir," said Mike, wondering where he was going.
"Well, there was a little problem with the batch in your suit. And in most of the rest of the battalion's as well. The damn pharmacy company that produced it forgot to put in the Provigil, the 'anti-sleep' drug. All that was in it was the GalTech stimulant."
"Oh, God," groaned Mike. The Galactic pharmaceutical was ten times as powerful as methamphetamine. It was no wonder he had felt like a tomcat in a room full of mechanical presses. He was surprised his head had not rocketed through the top of the helmet.

See? Please note the ‘C’ drug is 10x methamphetamine.

But since I’m making the suit’s protective qualities seem so impressive, let’s take a look at a couple occasions of a suit failing to work.

Pg 281
Quote:
A heavy laser, targeting on the Charlie company machine gun, scythed into the room housing Mike and the squad. Spec-Four Bennett would never see Trenton, New Jersey again. The laser cut sideways, exploding the wall inward and momentarily blinding the squad with debris. It narrowly missed Sergeant Reese, bubbling the hologram projectors on his helmet, and sliced diagonally across Spec-Four Bennett from left shoulder to below the right nipple unchecked by his force-screen or the immensely refractory armor.
The laser slashed through the front of his armor but was stopped by the combination of his mass and the rear armor from cutting all the way through. The tremendous heat of the coherent beam of light caused his torso to flash into steam and sublimed calcium. The armor held together, however, except a two-inch-wide strip blasted out of it, and Bennett's pureed remains squirted out like cherry soda from a shaken bottle. This ejecta flipped him backwards across the room.

And
Quote:
Private McPherson was less lucky. Two 3mm rounds penetrated his abdominal storage, setting off a cache of grenades and popping the blowout panels in a sea of actinic fire, then through his body armor. After that they were unable to exit and began bouncing around inside. McPherson's suit began to hop and flip randomly through the air, arms and legs flailing to keep up as the two hypervelocity flechettes bled off their kinetic energy within the body of his suit. Two seconds later, when it finally, mercifully, stopped, the only evidence of damage were two tiny holes, one above the right hip and one almost centered on the navel. The storm of directed fire had died to a light shower and Sergeant Reese started towards him.

Apparently the armor is designed to reflect away a lot of a laser’s energy, but it doesn’t seem to work all that well. Heavy Railgun rounds, when they penetrate, are unable to exit and instead bounce around inside of the suit, pretty much guaranteeing a kill. Were I feeling charitable, I would take the fact that neither weapon punched out the back end as evidence they were close, since I don’t believe the bodies of the people inside were much obstacles for either weapon. But you know it goes, close only counts with horseshoes, hand grenades and large thermonuclear weapons. The fact is, armor that stops enemy weapons after they’ve killed you is shitty armor.

Pg 303- suit also vulnerable to grav pistol, and presumably grav rifle.

Pg 304
Quote:
Unfortunately, at his current rate of energy consumption he would be out of power in twelve hours; the kinetic damping systems had been forced to work overtime counteracting not only the effects of the fuel air explosion but also the settlement of the rubble.

The main Achille’s heel of the ACS, and the main battle over its design. You could give them an antimatter generator that could supply all their power needs indefinitely, but if it were compromised, say by enemy fire, there would be a very big boom. So instead, the suits have batteries. In theory, the batteries give the suits a range of about three hundred miles, or three days of power if they fight in a single city or town. In practice, it’s more like half that, on a good day. Hell, in this particular case the first day of battle isn’t over yet. They can be recharged pretty quickly and easily, assuming you have a power source that’s up to the job, which is hardly a given in a combat area.

Quote:
He took a sip of water and just sat and scanned his situation for a moment. No rifle, lost sometime during the explosion. Shoulder grenade launchers sheared off clean. Replacement was a simple field repair assuming spares which he ain't got. One hundred twenty-eight thousand remaining rounds of depleted uranium 3mm penetrators with antimatter activator charge, pretty much useless without a rifle. Grav pistol and forty-five hundred rounds. Two hundred eighty-three grenades, hand or launcher useable. A thousand meters of 10,000kg test micro line, universal clamp and winch. C-9, four kilograms. Detonators. Sundry pyrotechnic and specialty demolition supplies. Personal Area Force-screen; useless against kinetic weapons, as he had pointed out, but of some utility otherwise. His suit had air, food and water for at least a month.

Suit inventory after a protracted firefight and explosion. But it’s the most complete I could find. Ok, looks like ammo for just over four minutes of firing, though the suits probably carry a bit more than that, since this was after a running battle. 4500 rounds for the backup sidearm. Almost three hundred grenades, which can be launched or thrown, I like the flexibility. As I said previously, here the force-field is said to be useless against kinetic weapons, though one did just fine against bullets earlier. And, as I said, the suit has abundant supplies and recycles all waste from the user to make more.

Couple of things bear special notice, or just confuse me. First, I admit to being inspired by the art on the back cover, even though it is clearly wrong in giving the suit a visor, the point being I presumed the grav rifle to be mounted on the suits forearm. Now, it could be mounted, it could be carried and used as a normal gun, or both, the test is ambiguous. There is a part where a suit-less man is using a rifle, but that could be a design feature that doesn’t exclude mounting. It’s a little thing; it just bugs me not to know.

C-9, back around WWII, the British did some research into mixing various explosives to increase the potency or stability. They called these composites by letter, so Composition B, which became the standard filling for artillery shells was a somewhat different mixture than Composition C, which was used as a plastic explosive, though they had most of the same ingredients in differing quantities. Well, Composition B lasted for over a decade, but Composition C had temperature issues, it wouldn’t detonate if it was too warm or too cool, so by 1943, they created Composition C-2. This was followed by C-3 a year later, then C-4 shortly after Korea. Why is this relevant? Because Composition C is always 80+% RDX, with plasticizing and phlegmatising elements, that’s the definition. So, if C-9 is part of the C family it shouldn’t really be massively more powerful, and since the number is a model number, rather than a power scale as people seem to believe, it should be called C-5. Well, whatever is up with that, he has four kilos of the stuff.

The cable and winch system is also of interest, I presume it to be primarily for suit recovery, but it could also be used to give them more options in navigating and manipulating their environment. I admit I can’t think of many circumstances where they’d need a full kilometer of cable, but hey: it’s nice to have options. There is a small, maybe nothing contradiction issue with the cable and winch system, but I’ll get to it momentarily, along with the universal clamps.

Pg 323
Quote:
The winch and line were built-in features of the suits. The winch was a bulge the size of a pack of cigarettes on the back of the suit and the line was thinner than a pencil lead. Designed for microgravity work they were rated to reel in a fully loaded suit against three gravities. On the other hand although the reel system and the universal clamp, a "magnet" that acted on a proton-sharing technology, had been extensively tested for full immersion, neither had been tested under heavy strain while fully immersed.

If the cable is good for 10,000 kg as said before, it should be able to handle the weight of twenty suits, easy. It’s possible they simply never tested it under more than 3 gravities, or that the cable is good for 10,000 kg but the winch isn’t. On the whole I’m not really worried about it.
Also, universal clamps are “magnets” that stick to any surface through the magic of “proton sharing” and cannot be removed except by killing the tiny amount of current it needs. They have at least one at the end of the cable, plus the same technology in soles and palms.

Pg 325
Quote:
"Michelle, adjust the winch to maintain a tension of ten pounds regardless of rate of descent, up rate of descent to ten meters per second."
"Lieutenant O'Neal, if you strike a serious obstacle at ten meters per second, it could cause serious damage. Regulation maximum uncontrolled movement is seven meters per second."
"Michelle, I wrote that spec, and it's a good spec, I like it. But there are times when you have to push the specifications a little. Let me put it this way, what was the maximum gravities sustained by a mobile survivor of the fuel-air explosion under Qualtren?"
"Private Slattery sustained sixty-five gravities for five microseconds and over twenty for three seconds," answered the AID.
"Then I think I can take hitting concrete at an itty-bitty thirty or forty feet per second," Mike answered with a smile.
"Nonetheless, his suit systems indicate some internal bleeding," protested the AID.
"Is he still functioning?"
"Barely."

Ok, what the hell? The same suits that casually shrug off hundreds of railgun rounds can’t handle slamming into something at highway speeds? What about half a chapter ago when he was getting tossed into walls by railgun rounds?

Pg 340-the suits can easily harvest power from common Galactic sources that look like glowing green gems and are in just about everything.

Quote:
The four remaining scouts caught the grav pistols tossed to them and moved out of the door to the room, following a heads-up projection of a green will-o'-the-wisp ball, bouncing ten feet in front of them. The ball would lead them on without their having to constantly refer to a map. It was dim enough to not impair their target line and, of course, invisible to the enemy since it was a projection in their helmets.

One way of making sure your men find their way to wherever you want them.

Quote:
"Michelle, throw aiming grid. Left arm on automatic, visual targeting." He whipped open the door, stepped into the corridor and looked at the Posleen normal guarding the power room. "Fire." The pseudomuscles of the armor swiveled the left arm of the suit to vertical and delivered the one-kilo gem at two hundred meters per hour to the forehead of the Posleen. The centauroid dropped like the rock that hit him.

I’m speechless. Did I say these suits were insanely over-engineered? Well, I’m saying it now. An automatic throwing sequence? Do I have to point out just how many systems must be involved with that? And it’s compatible with a considerable range of projectiles. He later throws a number of grav gun rounds at 100 m/s and a Posleen Boma blade, all with perfect accuracy.

Pg 365
Quote:
"Right, well it just so happens that the maximum jump range in the specifications we called for was one hundred meters for warriors, one twenty for scouts and one fifty for command." Mike crouched and whispered an order. His suit rolled backward over the mile high drop and sprang outward. In apparent defiance of gravity it shot out and over in a back flip and landed neatly on the far roof. He then sprang back, landing with a thump in their midst.

Jump specs for suits. Note the advantages command suits have, because of the superior power. The ‘warrior’ suit, which is just what they call the standard infantry suit can do a 100 meters, 120 for scouts, 150 for command, for those of you who prefer to see the numbers. The specs are however somewhat conservative, as a scout finds out when he leaps 170 meters with a running start.

Quote:
"Michelle, command run and maximum jump, execute."
The legs of the suit began to blur. In the hundred meters from his position to the roof's edge it accelerated to over one hundred kilometers per hour in a series of ground-devouring bounds. As the boots of the suit came in contact with the roof, a grappling field would engage to prevent slippage, therefore maximum energy was applied to each thrust. When he reached the roof's edge the suit's AID automatically launched him into the air. Under the combination of forward momentum, his inertial compensators' contragravity function, and thrust from the inertialess thrusters built into the suit, he was carried over two hundred meters onto the far roof. With a return series of bounds he reached the edge of the roof and bounced effortlessly back to the platoon.

Suit jumping mechanics. Though as O’Neal points out, his command suit was the prototype for a number of features, and so is hardly standard, he still jumps 200 meters. Again, the AID can employ his arms and legs much better than he can. On the same page, he reassures the troopers that if they miss a jump their antigrav will activate automatically. In fact, if anyone blinks at the approaching building’s edge, their suits override them and jump anyway.

Pg 378
Quote:
When the other squads were in position, the platoon stepped over the edge. The suits dropped under an artificially induced two positive gravities to within one hundred meters of the ground then began to slow. They hit the bottom still traveling at nearly six meters per second, but the suits absorbed this with bent knees.

Suits jumping off a kilometer-tall building. First they accelerate on the way down, then the antigrav brakes them. 6 m/s apparently slow enough for safe landing.

Pg-408
Quote:
As he turned to meet his fate he stopped, arrested by a form rising from the sea. A multiheaded red dragon the size of a building was humping itself up out of the green waves. Dozens of heads were snaking low out of the water, while one central head was raising itself to full extension with a broad fringe ruffling and puffing around the purple-lined maw.
As the battle-maddened and oblivious God King lined up for another charge, the dragon heads opened their mouths and began to breathe silver lightning.
With the first silvery breath a ringing scream, so loud that it was for a moment a physical thing, burst forth from the beast. At that first scream of rage and raw emotion Major Joachim Steuben, oblivious and uncaring of the closing death, sank to his knees and burst into un-Teutonic tears. Then the drum riffs of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," at the maximum volume available to the sophisticated sound systems of the Armored Combat Suits, brought every action to a momentary stop.

Program: Tiamat. The suits project a large holographic disguise of a many headed dragon. Then hover and fly inside of the hologram, which matches them enough that their fire appears as the dragon’s breath. A psychological tool and one O’neal will use multiple times. I have to wonder how he pitched that one during the design phase-“a suit unit should be able to turn into a dragon. That’ll scare off the fuckers!” Ah well, it’s nice to have options.
Also, the suits have highly advanced external speaker systems that can function for normal speech to people outside the suits, a public address system, or to play loud rock. Why not?

Pg 413
Quote:
As the scouts reached their positions and began to peck away at the God Kings, Mike felt it acceptable to return to the ground. He had also used up over thirty percent of his available power, mostly hovering, and needed to return to ground mode.

Hover mode is a real power hog.



"Any plan which requires the direct intervention of any deity to work can be assumed to be a very poor one."- Newbiespud

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-18 04:44am
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Ahriman238 wrote:
The personal force field is a bit of supplementary equipment for the ACS battalions. Interesting that it stops bullets, since (much later) it was said that the force fields were only issued to give them a chance against heavy plasma or laser weapons. It certainly does fuck all against railgun rounds. Then again, there is a slight difference between a heavy railgun and Duncan’s little sidearm.
.308 is a rifle caliber round, although there is still a drastic difference between Posleen 3mm railgun rounds and 20th century chemical slugthrowers.

Quote:
I’m not really sure what he meant by needing to brace it, unless he’s concerned about the generator flying off when something impacts the field...
I would say yes. That doesn't mean he's right to worry about the problem- remember, he's a bored noncom screwing around with technological gadgets no one on Earth had ever heard of a few months ago.

Quote:
...or the force field ‘stopping’ when it contacts an obstacle. At first read through, I took that to mean that the field doesn’t encompass obstacles but only forms a barrier behind them. Subsequent read-throughs are more ambiguous. Is it possible that that there is no field behind an interrupting object and any cover taken becomes a weakness in the field (kind of like the Spoil of Vervunhive in Necropolis)?
I would say yes.




Quote:
The Personal Force Field unit functioned by generating a focused plane of weak force energy as analogous to a laser beam as a line is to a plane, meaning not. The unit was designed to produce a circle 12 meters in diameter for 45 minutes. Given the option of maximum generation, it generated a circle 1250 meters square for 3 milliseconds before failing.

Some nice numbers to play with, and a few questions. For one, why is the field so wide across? Most battles last considerably longer than forty-five minutes, can the PFF be recharged or hooked up to the suit’s power supply? [/quote]A twelve-meter zone of effect may simply be one setting, designed to provide a certain amount of standoff distance so that you don't see individual soldiers protected while the cover/concealment around them gets shot to pieces.

Quote:
I can’t really think of many circumstances where it would be helpful to shield a square kilometer for just a few milliseconds, and you can do it and time it properly, but it’s nice to have options.
It would not be helpful; this is a failure mode, no more an intended feature of the system than it's intended that a steam turbine fly to pieces and embed alloy blades in everything in the vicinity with the governors taken off.

Quote:
Pretty sure the ‘focused plane of weak force energy’ is inane techno-babble, but if anyone thinks you could actually make a force field that way, I’m interested to hear it. If I was less lazy, and thought that Ringo put that much thought into it, I could probably calc the field’s power consumption, or at least how it scales up.
There is such a thing as the weak nuclear force and it most definitely interacts with matter (such as all the constituents of atoms). It does not, however, interact with light.

Quote:
Also we have room temperature superconductors that only generate heat when they overload.
This is basically how superconductors work. They do not resist current and do not create waste heat until the ambient temperature, magnetic field, or possibly other properties builds up to where they stop being superconductors, at which point they become about as resistive as lumps of pottery and start heating up quite noticeably.

Run a high enough and short enough current pulse through a superconductor and you can probably screw it up something good, due to induced fields causing quenching. So that's a plausible part of the failure mode.

Quote:
And a small pet peeve of mine, Ringo keeps jumping back and forth between metric and imperial for no real reason. Sometimes the temperature is given in Celsius, sometimes in Fahrenheit. Ranges are given in miles, and later in kilometers. It’s maddening. David Weber does the same thing, by the way. I don’t really have a problem with people using either system, sometimes I convert to imperial in my head just because it’s what I grew up with, but Valen’s name, pick a system of measurement and stick to it!
It's understandable for Americans- we do know metric, or those of us educated in a context where it matters do, but we think in miles and feet and pounds more often than not.

Quote:
Fun with ordinance. It’s raining explosive death from 1.2 kilometers away!
This is not actually that hard to achieve, if the rounds are made precisely enough and the ballistics computer is good- but you might be firing them on very indirect trajectories for long range shots, unless the muzzle velocity is quite high.

Quote:
Pg 134
Quote:
“The M-300 grav rifle has the ability to leave earth’s orbit, sir. It will hit something as far away as you can aim.”
Obviously, the range of the grav rifle. I’m tempted to start about Sir Isaac Newton being the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the universe, but it’s been done. Actually, this is retcon-inaccurate, in the third book it’s stated that the old grav rifle projectiles turned to vapor after ten kilometers or so at sea level, and the new ones have more-or-less unlimited range.
Realistically, vaporization is going to be a bitch at the ludicrous muzzle velocities- hell, the interatomic bonds between atoms in the rifle round are basically irrelevant at those speeds and the thing should dissolve into a spray of cosmic rays in short order, if the high-end speeds of 0.1c or higher are to be believed.

Quote:
What? This is one guy firing one grav gun, so they fire 500 rounds a second? 30,000 rounds a minute? That’s a touch extreme, especially considering the absurd destructive power of each round. True, they’re meant to kill Posleen in the tens of thousands, maybe even the millions, but think about it for a second. One guy just fired off a thousand rounds at fifty Posleen. Where do they get the ammo for that? How many thousands of rounds are wasted in every engagement? Now I know what you’re saying, modern assault rifles can empty their magazines in about three seconds tops. It’s true. That’s why they’re generally fired in bursts, unless giving suppressive fire. These guys just hose it around like every shot is a live grenade they’re trying to get rid of. And, effect of grav gun round hitting a barrel full of liquid.
Yes- really, 0.3c is simply too high, far too high, for the desired effect the author intended.

Quote:
Then we have the Command suits, issues to everyone Captain or higher. They’re more heavily armored (to what extent, it’s hard to be sure) have a better power plant, additional computer support, and several hundred command and control options that regular suits don’t have, and they can consistently outperform other suits in any area where their superior power reserve is a factor. Presumably they’re more costly or somesuch, since not everyone gets one. Then again, information overload is apparently a moderately serious issue.
Information overload is inherently a problem with any serious use of 'networked' computer systems to coordinate troops on the battlefield at the individual-infantryman level. We're already running into it in real life, with systems that were in development when Ringo wrote these books and with which (and with the ancestors of which) Ringo would be at least passingly familiar.

Quote:
This is really what makes the ACS different from every other bargain-basement power armor in every sci-fi series (except, you know, Armor.) Food, air and water for a month or so is nice, and it has tons of extras, but the protective qualities are the biggest selling point. Any weapon used against ACS armor must first penetrate at least one (and possibly more) force field, then penetrate the heavy armor (and there’s another system I’ll mention in a minute that makes that fiendishly difficult) and even then it won’t kill the wearer unless they hit one of the few critical areas.
Although many of the weapons involved are so energetic that once the armor is penetrated the user is almost certainly reduced to jelly- this arises later.

Quote:
Pg 276
Quote:
“Michelle, give me an RBG representation of Indowy, Posleen, and humans within the nine-block sector.”

The AID flashed a three-D representation of the nine megascrapers, then began drawing in Posleen, human, and Indowy concentrations in red, green and blue.
Yes, gaming fans, the suits can even provide a mini-map. In 3-D. With the positions of friendly, hostile and neutral units. Between this and the shadow-less vision, war really is turning into a video game.
This is exactly what modern command and control systems are trying to do anyway for officers. Those video game displays would be any 20th century officer's wet dream, in terms of the ability to observe and coordinate one's forces from an omniscient perspective in real time.

Quote:
More on the stealth systems. They’re also good against radar, subspace sensors, and the ability to detect turbulence from their air passage. Now why they don’t fit these same systems onto fighter jets is more than I can say. Perhaps there are some limits that aren’t clear.
Fighter jets are physically larger, and the jets are so much cheaper than suits that it may honestly not be worth putting a 100 million dollar stealth system on a 40 million dollar plane.

Quote:
I’m speechless. Did I say these suits were insanely over-engineered? Well, I’m saying it now. An automatic throwing sequence? Do I have to point out just how many systems must be involved with that? And it’s compatible with a considerable range of projectiles. He later throws a number of grav gun rounds at 100 m/s and a Posleen Boma blade, all with perfect accuracy.
If you can do general artificial intelligence, this is solvable- have the computer do a simulation of the dynamics of the object you intend to throw on the fly and adjust the arc accordingly.

Quote:
Program: Tiamat. The suits project a large holographic disguise of a many headed dragon. Then hover and fly inside of the hologram, which matches them enough that their fire appears as the dragon’s breath. A psychological tool and one O’neal will use multiple times. I have to wonder how he pitched that one during the design phase-“a suit unit should be able to turn into a dragon. That’ll scare off the fuckers!” Ah well, it’s nice to have options.
Probably just a specific function of a more general-purpose holographic capability, which may be tied into the camouflage system.

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-18 03:56pm
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Quote:
This is basically how superconductors work. They do not resist current and do not create waste heat until the ambient temperature, magnetic field, or possibly other properties builds up to where they stop being superconductors, at which point they become about as resistive as lumps of pottery and start heating up quite noticeably.

Run a high enough and short enough current pulse through a superconductor and you can probably screw it up something good, due to induced fields causing quenching. So that's a plausible part of the failure mode.


Yep. But they're apparently common in-setting, and this one does generate a lot of waste heat when it fails.

Quote:
Realistically, vaporization is going to be a bitch at the ludicrous muzzle velocities- hell, the interatomic bonds between atoms in the rifle round are basically irrelevant at those speeds and the thing should dissolve into a spray of cosmic rays in short order, if the high-end speeds of 0.1c or higher are to be believed.


I can't speak to the strength of interatomic bonds at various velocities, that's pretty far outside my knowledge. But I agree that vaporization should be a major issue, and cut down drastically on the range. Oh, did I mention they solve the vaopization problem by coating every round with a thin layer of carbon? :lol:
Quote:
Although many of the weapons involved are so energetic that once the armor is penetrated the user is almost certainly reduced to jelly- this arises later.


Yeah. Quite a few people in the first book die because a round penetrated their armor but didn't have the energy to get out. By contrast, Mike gets shot in the leg with a heavy railgun and it punches right through. He's even walking normally a minute later. I quoted the relevant section where I was talking aobut suit meds. Character shields, still the strongest armor out there.

Quote:
This is exactly what modern command and control systems are trying to do anyway for officers. Those video game displays would be any 20th century officer's wet dream, in terms of the ability to observe and coordinate one's forces from an omniscient perspective in real time.


I imagine it is. It certainly makes it a lot easier to know exactly where the enemy is and and exactly which way he's moving. I kind of forgot to mention that the suit creates this by collating the data from all the suit visual feeds, and in this case, security cameras.

Quote:
Fighter jets are physically larger, and the jets are so much cheaper than suits that it may honestly not be worth putting a 100 million dollar stealth system on a 40 million dollar plane.


That could be it. I was thinking more in terms of it created too much turbulence to be easily concealed. I may still be smarting from the sudden revelation that, Oh yeah! We can totally build worthwhile tank armor, and always could. I'd hope the guys at GalTech invested at least a little thought in how to make airpower viable again.



"Any plan which requires the direct intervention of any deity to work can be assumed to be a very poor one."- Newbiespud

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-18 11:33pm
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Whoops. The last ACS quote got mixed in with my Posleen notes somehow.

Pg 438
Quote:
"Won't that make them a target?" interjected one French staff officer.
Mike flicked a switch and a hologram of a snarling panther's head was superimposed on the helmet. "One less Posleen more or less is what that'll mean, sir," he said.

Suit helmet can display holographic images.

On with the show.

The Posleen:

Pg 45
Quote:
“In general, they are four-legged sort of centaur-looking omnivores that lay eggs.”

The basic physiology. They are reptilian in appearance if not in fact, with the basic shape of a centaur and yellow skin. Their yellow eyes are frequently said to be intimidating, but not as much as their yellowed teeth and claws or their... bright… yellow… blood and viscera? Is any part of the Posleen body not yellow? Okay, just imagine the unholy offspring of Chiron, a velociraptor, and Big Bird and you’re pretty much there. A guy on youtube used to have a video of a Posleen he created via Spore, but it’s gone now.

Pg 138
Quote:
The aliens were Arabian-horse-sized centauroids. Long arms ending in four-digit talons, three "fingers" and a broad, clawed thumb, protruded from a complex double shoulder. The legs, ending in elongated talons, were longer than a horse's, and sprung on a reverse double knee that seemed arachnoid. The design of the knees caused them to move with an oddly sinuous bouncing gate, like oversized jumping spiders. Their long necks were topped with a blunt crocodilian snout. The necks of the squad wove a complex pavane, sauroid mouths opening and closing in a constant low atonal hiss that was almost a chant. The neck movement was hypnotic and sinister, speaking to the lizard brain of fanged hunters in the dark.

A much better description of the Posleen. The most complete for some time, I’m afraid.

Pg 46
Quote:
“They, the Posleen, that is, have one thinking leader to control around four hundred ‘troops’ that aren’t much more intelligent than chimpanzees. Their weapons do not have sights so they depend on mass fire, sort of like a Napoleonic broadside.”

Ah, that first briefing and some of the hilariously optimistic assumptions that went into it. They’re spot on about their being one fully intelligent leader per 400-ish large companies. These leaders are called Kessentai in the Posleen tongue, and God-Kings in ours. But around 10% of Posleen are ‘superior’ normals or cosslain, which could probably take First or Second Grade, in that they can count, have some problem solving skills, and can remember simple instructions and standing orders. These act as squad leaders.

Also, the Posleen don’t have sights, so their accuracy is pretty bad at mid-to-long ranges. They generally compensate by having several thousand all trying for the same targets and firing as quickly as they’re able. However, within a hundred, hundred-and-fifty feet they are deadly accurate.

Pg 138
Quote:
Ten of the Posleen were in a line, with two more following. Each of them wore a harness to which was attached their primary weapon. Four carried 1mm railguns, long gray rifles that looked misshapen to humans, six carried shotguns with bulbous ammunition storage; one of the trailers toted a hypervelocity missile launcher and the other sported a 3mm railgun.

Pretty much all of the commonly available Posleen weapons. The light 1mm railguns are the most common, but poorer groups use what’s basically a shotgun with some advanced materials/ballistics (kind of like autoguns and stubbers in 40k) that shoots the same ammunition as the light railgun. The heavy railgun is used mostly by the superior normals, as is the HVM. I cannot recall any instances of the heavy plasma guns or terawatt lasers used by the God-kings being carried by the regular oolt.

Of course, they also loot weapons from their fallen enemies, which they use with enthusiasm if not skill.

As for the HVMs…
Quote:
The missile launcher was a small weapon, not much more than a yard long, but the bulbous rear housing carried six missiles with onboard grav-drives that could accelerate them to a large fraction of the speed of light in less than twenty meters. The damage when one hit a solid object was catastrophic.

The main difference between a grav gun and an HVM is the inclusion of a grav drive inside the projectile, rather than an antimatter charge (which begets the question of why it’s even called a grav gun.) Also, the HVMs are much larger, faster and more powerful, doing a ‘large fraction’ of c rather than a ‘signifigant fraction.’ In the entire series, so far as I am aware, no one ever comes up with a useful armor or defense against HVMs, besides not being where they strike.

Pg 379
Quote:
Normal Posleen were barely sentient. Most of them were below moron level on a human scale. There were a few that were of slightly higher intelligence that the God Kings used as foremen or NCOs. But all of the normal Posleen "normals" and "superior normals" were bonded in a very real sense to an individual God King. They would not even flinch from death if the God King ordered them to die.

But if the God King died, their bonds were released. If this occurred with another God King around, the other God King could try to rebond them. Rebond them "in the heat" as it was called. However, if they were not rebonded in the short period after the death of their lord and master, they were impossible to bond for some time thereafter, up to two weeks. Then they would begin looking for another God King.

More of the difference between the three groups of Posleen. I don’t know much about the mysterious bond between a God-King and his oolt. Is it chemical? Psychic? I know touch is needed to initiate it, but that’s about it. If they do not rebond within a short time of their master’s death, the Posleen become feral and attack anything and everything, including their own kind.

Pg 61
Quote:
“According to this, we can expect five invasion waves spaced about six months apart with scattered landings before, during, and after the main invasion waves. The first full wave will arrive in about five years. Each wave will consist of between fifty and seventy large colonial combat globes, each of those comprised of five to six hundred combat landing craft. Each of those landing craft will have the Posleen equivalent of a division of troops, though we’re calling it a brigade. Am I right? Five or six hundred divisons?”
“Correct. Very short, maybe pocket divisions. I prefer the brigade designation.”
“But each globe will have approximately four million troops of all types. Correct?”
“Correct.”

Scale of the coming Posleen invasion. Each B-Dec carries 6400-6800 troops (1600-2000 in the C-Dec, 4800 in Lampreys) times 5-6 hundred, times fifty to seventy, times five. If you discount the scattered landings of single or small groups of battle globes (there was a group of five in Gust Front) then you have between 800 million and 1.428 billion hungry Posleen moving towards earth. Give or take a few tens of millions in the individual landings. The scale of the problem begins to become apparent, at last someone may outnumber the Chinese.
A note, that the main characters immediately adopt 240 million per wave as a median number for their assumptions of Posleen military strength. This gives them a total figure of 1.2 billion, which is pretty close to my high-end figure. Both of us turned up a bit shy though, and the final number turns out to be around 2 billion landed, and another 10 billion or so born on earth. See what I meant about the birth rate, if the population multiplied by six in just five years?

Quote:
“Now, these… Posleen use companies of about four hundred. Each company has one ‘God-King’ leader-type in command with a vehicle mounted heavy weapon.”


Self-explanatory, the basic force structure of the Posleen is the oolt of a God-King, his personal fief of morons barely able to follow simple instructions. “Vehicle mounted heavy weapon” is also understating the tenar problem just a bit. Already went over most of this, but it’s nice to have it all neatly summarized.

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“Right, and a Lamprey is…?
“A landing craft. Umm, space weaponry, like…uh plasma cannons and shit. Some antipersonnel stuff, really nasty shit. Oh. Sweeps for artillery so, like, no call for fire if you see one.”
“Yawhohl. Anything else, like how many troops it carries? Shit like that?”
“Oh, about four, five hundred? Yeah, like, one of their companies. And one or two God-kings.”
“Right. Okay. How do you identify one?”
“If it looks like a skyscraper but it fuckin’ moves, it’s a Lamprey.”

The basic lander that sometimes provides air support. Has a single random weapon anti-ship weapon, a few for shooting at infantry or fightercraft in particular, latches onto a larger host ship, hence the name. Apologies to Herr Thanas for the terrible Deutsch, I swear it was written that way in the book.

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“C-Dec, Command Dodecahedron. Core Unit of a B-Dec, or Battle Dodecahedron. Twelve-sided cube. Random mix of interstellar weaponry on eleven facets. Antipersonnel secondaries. Interstellar drive. About 1600 personnel nominal, buncha God-Kings, some light armor. Locks on twelve Lampreys to form a B-Dec, which is the central fighting unit of the Posleen.”

The rest of the Posleen Space Fleet. A dozen Lampreys latch onto a C-Dec to make a B-Dec, adding their weapons to its own. Then five or six hundred B-Decs link up to become the FTL-capable Battle Globes. I don’t want you to think of these ships just as interstellar vessels or terrible weaponsof war, but also as really big Legos.
Seriously, a Battle Globe will stay together just long enough to knock out any orbital infrastructure or attacking ships and orbit the planet a few times looking for good landing sites. Then it will break into individual B-Decs for atmospheric entry, and those will break up somewhere in the lower atmosphere so a C-Dec and its associated landers will all end up within a few klicks of each other.

If a Globe is attacked, whatever hits it will generally just destroy a few B-Decs on the exterior, so they jettison the wreckage and fight on. Or more likely, break apart and swarm whatever is doing the attacking.

Also, some of the rarely mentioned Posleen armor. Apparently the C-Decs are mostly owned by wealthier God-Kings who can spring for elite troops and even some tanks. Mostly they hang back as a reserve/to protect the landing craft, but sometimes they get into a fight, which is generally bad news for the other guy.

Pg 168
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“Why the pyramids?” asked Mueller. When completed, they would resemble Central American pyramids to an uncomfortable degree. At the base of each was a large hut and the beginnings of a parade or playing field. The God-kings had been observed to spend most of their time in or around the huts. The one that was nearing completion had a small house or palace on top.
“Worship?”
“Of who, the God-kings?”
“I wonder if that’s why they call them that.”

Shortly after conquest of a planet, prisoners and spoils are rounded up in a location where pyramids are built. They also have pits where their young are kept to fight each other to the death for the limited food that’s dropped in. Genetic memory means education isn’t much of a concern, and Posleen youth reach their maturity in about two years, so the only criteria for childhood they have is ensuring that only the strongest and meanest live to adulthood by only giving food for a few to live on.

Pg 169
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“Sure, they’ve probably been designed to be able to eat anything, but that’s the only home food they got. Maybe they like the taste.” It would explain why the God-kings ate their clan’s nestlings, as Sergeant Martine had witnessed only an hour before.

And, the Posleen eat their young. Par for the course, really. Actually, given how many terrestrial animals do this, it seems a bit odd that they’re so shocked. Then again, no sentient animal on earth eats their young. Actually, given the rapid grow of the Posleen, and the apparent birthrate, it’s probably that even at the beginning of a planet’s conquest the Posleen are staying only just ahead of an overpopulation crisis. Which may explain both of the above behaviors.

The first line is also completely true. Probably due to the extensive genetic engineering done to the Posleen, they are omnivores who can sustain themselves off of any plant or animal life in the known galaxy. They’re also immune to every poison or chemical weapon known to man, and when dealing with alien species in this series, bio-weapons aren’t even worth talking about.

Pg 63
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"Hmm," Mike was back looking at the design of the God King's vehicle, a saucer-shaped anti-gravity sled with a center-mounted heavy weapon. The pictured system mounted a multibarreled heavy laser.

Tenar, standard vehicle for God-Kings. Basically a flat saucer they stand on as it zips through the air. Has an advanced sensor suite, access to the Posleen internet, communications, antimatter power source, and it can mount any of the heavy weapons used by the Posleen. Like these:
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Says here the God Kings mount heavy lasers, heavy Gauss guns or multiple repeating Hyper Velocity Missile launchers. Now, unless you're talking about enough walkers for target overload, I wouldn't want to be in anything that stands out like a walker." Mike gestured again at the picture. "Five or six of these things would eat a walker for lunch and there are between fourteen and twenty per 'brigade.' Not to mention that it would be some walker to survive these Hyper Velocity Missiles. Last, but not least, I think that cav would consider the walkers their system."

Tenar mounted heavy weapons. I believe the repeating HVM to be a different model from the six shot version from before.

Pg 269
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Behind the flood of Indowy, like a hawk eating a snake, was an equally solid if more disciplined flood of leprous yellow centaurs. The front rank was trotting to keep up with the running Indowy, wielding their long palmate blades in either hand. They would hack down an Indowy and run to catch the next as the following rank lifted the body and passed it to the outside. Along the way the corpse would be gutted and dismembered until the rendered portions were stacked neatly against a wall. The force was a gigantic moving abattoir with the occasional snack nibbled along the way.

Behind this first block of about twelve thousand Posleen the remainder were broken into three streams. The center stream continued to follow the front group as backup, while the outside streams poured into the megascrapers.

The leaders, the God Kings, were clearly evident. They rode in their open saucer-shaped vehicles about two meters across with lasers or HVM launchers mounted on powered gimbals. According to orders the scout/snipers, one member of each three-man scout team, lifted their M-209 sniper rifles and, as a group, fired a low-velocity sniper round at a designated God King. Like a single string-cut marionette, ten God Kings fell. The whole mass checked for a split second and then responded.

The low-velocity rounds of the snipers left no more signature than a high-velocity rifle bullet; there should have been nothing to betray the position of the scouts. But previously unsuspected targeting systems automatically swiveled the vehicle-mounted weapons of the remaining God Kings and, as they locked on target, a storm of lasers and hypervelocity missiles swept back up range. In addition the subjects of the deceased reacted with hyperaggression, flailing the target points designated by the leader's fire with a sleet of needle and rocket fire. In a series of eye-blinking detonations and searing laser strikes the locations of the scout teams were swept away in the storm of fire. Huge holes were blasted deep into the building under the concentrated fire of twenty vehicle-mounted weapons and twelve thousand hand weapons, and if the force-screens had any positive effect it was unappreciable. The scout platoon disappeared in an unnoticeable haze of blood.

Posleen travel through a city. Also, the tenar autotarget snipers, or just the first few people to fire, selecting them for special (read: painful) attention. The normals all fire towards whatever their God-king was aiming at.

A similar system takes out all aircraft and missiles that clear the horizon or enter their line of sight for even a moment. The Lampreys and C-Decs also do that, and destroy artillery. I just can’t dig up a good quote for it.

Most Posleen normals are armed with palmate blades, multi-pronged mono-edge knives. Most God-kings and some superior normals use a boma blade, sort of a short glaive, which is also mono-edge. I know, I know.

Pg 370
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The Posleen was moving in at over three hundred kilometers per hour swerving crazily from side to side.

Tenar speed. Almost 200 mph, about the limits of what can be done with an open-air cockpit. But I don't really know enough to know which side of the line it falls on.

Pg 194
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"The Posleen show every symptom of being genetically manipulated, so that is part of the answer. The full answer waits on available corpses, which your senior violent carnivore has so graciously offered for our sacrifice." The philosopher-scientist seemed totally unaware of the consternation his translation was causing in his audience. Still unable to determine if it was simply a matter of over-precise translation or intentional irony, the group vacillated between anger and laughter. The secretary of defense was holding his hand over his mouth while the secretary of state had simply buttoned down a poker face. The national security advisor had his head down, face hidden behind his hand, as he made furious notes. Occasionally his body shook as if he were coughing.

"There is, however, one bit of data specific to the subject. We, too, have weapons of mass destruction. We also have even more stringent regulations about their use. However, in at least one instance, desperation caused a population to attempt biological and chemical warfare against the Posleen. Despite the aid of renegade Tchpth, none of their solutions had the slightest effect." At that pronouncement most of the senior officials sat back in their chairs.

Posleen resistance to chemical and bio-warfare.

Pg 193
Quote:
Unfortunately, that does not give the Posleen sufficient credit. To build a frame of reference for you backward alien vicious omnivores: are you aware, O High Leader of the Unenlightened, that if your cook were to mistake me for a terrestrial crab and boil me for your dinner, you would die were you to eat me?" The hologram shifted through scenes of various environments. More worlds than the group could count flickered in front of their eyes, from worlds of oxygen and water, through heavy hydrogen giants to scenes that might have been from a different dimension.

"That had been mentioned," answered the President, smiling at what he had decided was an overly accurate translation by the AID, and reeling from the impact of the images. "Something about incompatible body chemistries."

"Correct. Amazing, even the ill-mannered can learn. There are billions upon billions of worlds, none of the biologies perfectly compatible. However, the Posleen can dine on either of us with positive relish. Upon the denizens of any oxygen-water world they have invaded."

The Posleen ability to eat just about any plant or animal they come across.

Pg 380-81
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"Well, they survive much the same way an army has survived throughout history, by gleaning. Until fairly recently in history what we now call looting and punish people for was the accepted way that troops fed and paid themselves. Have you noticed anything about these Posleen?"
"Besides the fact that they're shooting at us, sir?" joked the sergeant.
"I meant the stuff on their harnesses," Mike answered with a slight smile.
Sergeant Green studied the nearest Posleen corpse.
"They've got bits stuck all over them, sir."
"Yeah, shiny bits. If you dug through the ruck you'd find a few with silver or gold. More high-quality stuff on the God Kings. In their pouches are going to be bits of Indowy and other plant and animal matter. Some of the Indowy is moved back to the landers, ammunition presumably moves forward. The indigenous population and supplies are their food and they gather semivaluable and valuable materials for their bosses. In the consolidation period following conquest they build sort of temple palaces to the God Kings and fill them with the loot they gathered.

Posleen foraging for food and valuables. Looting is commonplace, and an exploitable weakness in their psyche. Also, note the return of the treasure pyramids.

Pg 138
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Occasionally one of the pickers would take a sample back to the trailers and give it to the one with the HVM. It, in turn, would slip the sample into a complex construction carried over one shoulder. There were no significant vocalizations until a beetle the size of a rabbit was startled out of cover by the skirmish line.
The skirmisher that startled it let out an odd warbling cry and darted in pursuit. When the Posleen caught the unfortunate hemipteroid it popped the beetle into its maw. The trailer with the 3mm let out a high-pitched bellow, whipped up its 3mm and butt stroked the skirmisher on the back of the head. The beetle popped out relatively unscathed and tried to crawl away, but the chastened Posleen picked it up and handed it to the technician.


Posleen foraging party. It seems likely there are things the Posleen can’t eat, if they feel the need to check. Or maybe it’s that they can eat wood, but won’t derive significant nutrition from it, so they’re investigating what’s worth the effort of taking. Also, a little slapstick.

Pg 203
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With each shot the fifty caliber slammed into her shoulder like the kick of a horse, nearly unseating her from her perch in the tree. But when the two-ounce rounds punched through the Posleen's centauroid chests the horse-sized creatures were hurled sideways, plate-sized exit holes and fountains of yellow ichor marking their end. Just as she reloaded, right on time, the first God King rushed into view, harness half slung. The leader caste was as easy meat as the rest and went up to the great smorgasbord in the sky, flattened across the deceased guard at its door.

.50 caliber sniper rounds can kill Posleen easily. Not really surprising. When I was a kid my dad used to tell me a story, can’t really vouch for its veracity. He said that in the Spanish-American war it became common to find an officer with his head three feet away, a local with five holes in him slumped over the body, and an empty gun. The officer would empty his .22 into the enemy, who before he died would manage to stagger over and kill and the officer with a machete. When the War Department heard this, they experimented with various barrel sizes, firing guns into a paddock until they found a caliber that would knock a cow off of its feet, and the cow would stay down. Thus, my father assured me, the age of .30 and larger calibers began.

I mention this story because of the preference given to large caliber weapons in this series. It’s even said at one point (not planning on digging up the quotation) that an M-16 ‘won’t cut the mustard with these guys.’ Guns that knock over cows are in demand.



"Any plan which requires the direct intervention of any deity to work can be assumed to be a very poor one."- Newbiespud

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-19 10:58am
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Ahriman238 wrote:
Yep. But they're apparently common in-setting, and this one does generate a lot of waste heat when it fails.
You've got an intense current running through the superconductor. No surprise that when it quenches, the current shorts, and a great deal of power is released very quickly. You can do the same thing with a battery. Short it out across the terminals, and it will heat up the wire fast, because a boatload of current is flowing through.

Quote:
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Realistically, vaporization is going to be a bitch at the ludicrous muzzle velocities- hell, the interatomic bonds between atoms in the rifle round are basically irrelevant at those speeds and the thing should dissolve into a spray of cosmic rays in short order, if the high-end speeds of 0.1c or higher are to be believed.
I can't speak to the strength of interatomic bonds at various velocities, that's pretty far outside my knowledge.
Molecular bonds have binding energies which are, well... maybe up to hundreds or thousands of eV. That's look-upable.

The kinetic energies of individual subatomic particles moving at 0.1c are a lot higher than that, which can be calculated using the ordinary equations for kinetic energy.

What this means is that when an object made of molecules strikes anything- including an air molecule- the kinetic energy released in the impact will be enough to break interatomic bonds, and to strip electrons off of atomic nuclei. That's a whole different level of impact energies than what you get in reentry heating, for example. Friction heating is less of an issue than physically smacking into air molecules like a car plowing into a wall.

Quote:
Yeah. Quite a few people in the first book die because a round penetrated their armor but didn't have the energy to get out. By contrast, Mike gets shot in the leg with a heavy railgun and it punches right through. He's even walking normally a minute later. I quoted the relevant section where I was talking aobut suit meds. Character shields, still the strongest armor out there.
Range and angle matter- and for that matter, given the design, ACS arms and legs may not be protected to the same scale as the torso and head, simply because you can regenerate the injuries, and weight savings matter.

Quote:
That could be it. I was thinking more in terms of it created too much turbulence to be easily concealed. I may still be smarting from the sudden revelation that, Oh yeah! We can totally build worthwhile tank armor, and always could. I'd hope the guys at GalTech invested at least a little thought in how to make airpower viable again.
GalTech material is so expensive, pound for pound, that armoring tanks in slabs of the stuff becomes problematic. A terrestrial tank costs something on the order of five to ten million dollars, tops; I gather an ACS suit costs a lot more, and a lot of the expense goes into the material, which is basically being grown molecule by molecule in a tank of nanites that have to be controlled by a psychic. Piling on ten or fifteen tons of the stuff as armor for an upgraded Abrams may not be worth the trouble, given the quantities available for production. Sure, you get a tank which can resist somewhat heavier weapons, but it's still not going to shrug off the seriously heavy Posleen weapons (plasma and HVMs).

Airpower against the Posleen, given the quality of their air defense (the bulk of the heaviest weapons in a Posleen horde are mounted on the God-Kings' saucers, and all of them preferentially engage maneuvering airborne targets in their line of sight), is problematic. Spending the money it would take to make a GalTech invisible jet that can operate around them undetected is likely to be less effective than spending it on things like transport planes (which never come into their line of sight) and more ground combat hardware.

There would be at least some use for the 'invisible jet' in the reconnaissance mode: make something that flies high and takes photographs... but that niche would sort of overlap with the role the Galactics use Himmit for, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Galactics insisted on using Himmit to do the job while concentrating humans on the killing end of the business.

Ahriman238 wrote:
Genetic memory means education isn’t much of a concern, and Posleen youth reach their maturity in about two years, so the only criteria for childhood they have is ensuring that only the strongest and meanest live to adulthood by only giving food for a few to live on.
At those birth rates, they may not have food for many to live on.

Quote:
A similar system takes out all aircraft and missiles that clear the horizon or enter their line of sight for even a moment. The Lampreys and C-Decs also do that, and destroy artillery. I just can’t dig up a good quote for it.
Although they're not stellar at artillery defense; the software seems to have trouble careting targets that aren't maneuvering under power, and the God-Kings are too technically illiterate to make it do so.

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-19 11:59am
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Ahriman238 wrote:
Yeah, I went there.

A while back I reread the first two Posleen War books, the only two I own, largely to reaffirm for myself how cool the ACS were.


*GURGH GURGH GURGH*

I love how they're so fantastically hard to make; yet the same process that makes their superunobtanium suit plates, isn't used to produce simple slabs of armor for tanks and the like...

As for your question to why Ringo goes back and forth between US/Metric?

He was in the military, and the US military largely does a lot of things in metric, such as kilometers, meters, millimeters, etc; while the general US population thinks in US.

So it makes sense for the book to use both systems:

E.G. a US Soldier looks at a map of the DC area and says that it's 2,100 meters from the Lincoln Memorial to the Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington, whereas a Civilian would say it's a bit over a mile and quarter.



"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-19 04:52pm
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MKSheppard wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:
Yeah, I went there.

A while back I reread the first two Posleen War books, the only two I own, largely to reaffirm for myself how cool the ACS were.
*GURGH GURGH GURGH*

I love how they're so fantastically hard to make; yet the same process that makes their superunobtanium suit plates, isn't used to produce simple slabs of armor for tanks and the like...
I think weight comes into play. Slabs of Chobham can pretty much bounce Posleen small arms fire as it is, it's the 3mm railguns and up that have really threatening penetration against them. So they're about as bulletproof as ACS as it is, using purely terrestrial materials.

To make them any better protected than ACS would require tons and tons of these exotic GalTech alloys- you couldn't make do with light plating, or the ACS would already be wearing that better protection. Since availability of the metals themselves is a problem, you don't get GalTech-armored tanks. Basically, you've only got 500 tons of alien supersteel to go around, so you spend it on 1000 ACS suits that use half a ton each instead of ten or twenty tanks that use 25-50 tons each.

At least, I think that's what's going on. Whether it's that good an argument, I don't know.

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-19 10:18pm
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I remember doing an analysis of the grav guns when I read the series long long ago. the things have a tremendous recoil problem if you take all the facts at literal, absolute face value (the 500 rounds a second, assuming 1 teardrop is equal to 200 lbs/200 kilos of tnt, etc.) Given some of the later quotes (esp Helle's Faire) I've generally figured that it was 50 kilos of tnt per barrage or burst (several dozen pellets per volley IIRC) and the whole gun is maybe, say halfa ton of TNT per second tops, probably alot less. I could probably sit down and re-do the math and such but it would give me a headache.

It doesn't help that Ringo's novels tend to be rather inconsistent even within themselves or between themselves (two ounce teardrops I remember for the grav pistol, that was pretty hilarious - the interchangable "hypervelocity" and "relativistic" references - Ringo uses that for ALL weapons, especially the kinetic kill missiles which ramp up to fractions of lightspeed - in the atmosphere - in insanely short periods of time.)

I also can't help but not care for some of Ringo's ideas or the way he changes his mind from time to time (The "America Fuck Yeah" angle is kind of annoying too but that's been discussed countless times before - such as the way Minnesota and the regions areound there were, IIRC, safe from the Posleen but the Posleen fucked over Russia.) The idea that they waited til book 3 or so before they started salvaging and using Posleen tech was pretty silly too - they should have been intending to do that from the get go (even more absurd when Watch on the Rhine had them building Shiva analogues using Posleen railguns...). Or the way the posleen used lasers and railguns, but we had such a ludicrously over-the-top weapon like an ACS Grav gun.

I think the most annoying bit was where the military decided to recruit sci fi authors in order to design tech to fight aliens and to do tactics (as if military, scientific and engineering people were completely bereft of creativity to figure out what to do with the tech.)



ImageNew Archive of my 40K analysis stuff, over on SB, including the stuff I've posted there as well as my stuff here.

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 12:16am
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Connor MacLeod wrote:
I also can't help but not care for some of Ringo's ideas or the way he changes his mind from time to time (The "America Fuck Yeah" angle is kind of annoying too but that's been discussed countless times before - such as the way Minnesota and the regions areound there were, IIRC, safe from the Posleen but the Posleen fucked over Russia.)
I think he retconned that.

Quote:
The idea that they waited til book 3 or so before they started salvaging and using Posleen tech was pretty silly too - they should have been intending to do that from the get go (even more absurd when Watch on the Rhine had them building Shiva analogues using Posleen railguns...).
They wouldn't have large stockpiles on hand to salvage until after the Posleen landings on Earth, after the events of Book Two- though, yes, they should have tried to ship home some gear from the alien planets they were fighting on.

Quote:
Or the way the posleen used lasers and railguns, but we had such a ludicrously over-the-top weapon like an ACS Grav gun.
The justification, not saying I approve, seems to be that basically all GalTech weapons are handmade prototypes. The difficulty of making them has a lot more to do with availability (since they're made in specialized tanks of nanites controlled by psychics) than it does with weight or machine tool steps or the things that govern Earthly manufacture. To the point where making a hundred thousand ludicrously overpowered rifles was actually more viable than making a hundred million equivalents of the Posleen 1mm railgun to arm the entire militaries of Earth.

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 01:01am
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MKSheppard wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:
Yeah, I went there.

A while back I reread the first two Posleen War books, the only two I own, largely to reaffirm for myself how cool the ACS were.


*GURGH GURGH GURGH*

I love how they're so fantastically hard to make; yet the same process that makes their superunobtanium suit plates, isn't used to produce simple slabs of armor for tanks and the like...

As for your question to why Ringo goes back and forth between US/Metric?

He was in the military, and the US military largely does a lot of things in metric, such as kilometers, meters, millimeters, etc; while the general US population thinks in US.

So it makes sense for the book to use both systems:

E.G. a US Soldier looks at a map of the DC area and says that it's 2,100 meters from the Lincoln Memorial to the Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington, whereas a Civilian would say it's a bit over a mile and quarter.


I wasn't asking why. I was just saying that it's really annoying.

Quote:
I remember doing an analysis of the grav guns when I read the series long long ago. the things have a tremendous recoil problem if you take all the facts at literal, absolute face value (the 500 rounds a second, assuming 1 teardrop is equal to 200 lbs/200 kilos of tnt, etc.) Given some of the later quotes (esp Helle's Faire) I've generally figured that it was 50 kilos of tnt per barrage or burst (several dozen pellets per volley IIRC) and the whole gun is maybe, say halfa ton of TNT per second tops, probably alot less. I could probably sit down and re-do the math and such but it would give me a headache.

It doesn't help that Ringo's novels tend to be rather inconsistent even within themselves or between themselves (two ounce teardrops I remember for the grav pistol, that was pretty hilarious - the interchangable "hypervelocity" and "relativistic" references - Ringo uses that for ALL weapons, especially the kinetic kill missiles which ramp up to fractions of lightspeed - in the atmosphere - in insanely short periods of time.)


Yes, one quickly gets the impression that internal consistency and physics research were not priorities for this series.

Quote:
I also can't help but not care for some of Ringo's ideas or the way he changes his mind from time to time (The "America Fuck Yeah" angle is kind of annoying too but that's been discussed countless times before - such as the way Minnesota and the regions areound there were, IIRC, safe from the Posleen but the Posleen fucked over Russia.) The idea that they waited til book 3 or so before they started salvaging and using Posleen tech was pretty silly too - they should have been intending to do that from the get go (even more absurd when Watch on the Rhine had them building Shiva analogues using Posleen railguns...). Or the way the posleen used lasers and railguns, but we had such a ludicrously over-the-top weapon like an ACS Grav gun.


In Gust Front they say that Expeditionary force at Diess captured thousands of Posleen ships after the fighting was over there. They make a considerable profit auctioning them off, since the Galactics are hard up for FTL craft. Then we have Earth defended by shitbox multiple-centuries-old converted freighters, meaning they had a couple of missile pods mounted on. You'd think they'd keep a couple ships for study and Home Defense. Hell, access to the Posleen Datanet would be invaluable.

I plan to get to the issue of where should and should not be safe in a bit when I put up Gust Front.

If I get that far, expect a very long rant about the SheVa tank. I actually looked over the chapter where its introduced in book 3, and calculated the kinetic energy of the cannon at ~54 megajoules. Immediatly followed by 'that can't be right,' but I ran the numbers again and got the same result.

Quote:
I think the most annoying bit was where the military decided to recruit sci fi authors in order to design tech to fight aliens and to do tactics (as if military, scientific and engineering people were completely bereft of creativity to figure out what to do with the tech.)


In fairness, there were plenty of soldiers, scientists, and engineers at the conference, and most of the sci-fi authors they picked were former military. I attribute it to an attempt at lateral thinking.

The justification, not saying I approve, seems to be that basically all GalTech weapons are handmade prototypes. The difficulty of making them has a lot more to do with availability (since they're made in specialized tanks of nanites controlled by psychics) than it does with weight or machine tool steps or the things that govern Earthly manufacture. To the point where making a hundred thousand ludicrously overpowered rifles was actually more viable than making a hundred million equivalents of the Posleen 1mm railgun to arm the entire militaries of Earth.
Connor MacLeod wrote:
I also can't help but not care for some of Ringo's ideas or the way he changes his mind from time to time (The "America Fuck Yeah" angle is kind of annoying too but that's been discussed countless times before - such as the way Minnesota and the regions areound there were, IIRC, safe from the Posleen but the Posleen fucked over Russia.)
I think he retconned that.

Quote:
The idea that they waited til book 3 or so before they started salvaging and using Posleen tech was pretty silly too - they should have been intending to do that from the get go (even more absurd when Watch on the Rhine had them building Shiva analogues using Posleen railguns...).
They wouldn't have large stockpiles on hand to salvage until after the Posleen landings on Earth, after the events of Book Two- though, yes, they should have tried to ship home some gear from the alien planets they were fighting on.

Quote:
Quote:
Or the way the posleen used lasers and railguns, but we had such a ludicrously over-the-top weapon like an ACS Grav gun.
The justification, not saying I approve, seems to be that basically all GalTech weapons are handmade prototypes. The difficulty of making them has a lot more to do with availability (since they're made in specialized tanks of nanites controlled by psychics) than it does with weight or machine tool steps or the things that govern Earthly manufacture. To the point where making a hundred thousand ludicrously overpowered rifles was actually more viable than making a hundred million equivalents of the Posleen 1mm railgun to arm the entire militaries of Earth.


That's the second time someone's mentioned psychics in this thread. I thought there weren't any psychics in-setting?



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 01:20am
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The difficulty of making them has a lot more to do with availability (since they're made in specialized tanks of nanites controlled by psychics) than it does with weight or machine tool steps or the things that govern Earthly manufacture.


Best part is that they're put together atom by fucking atom by said psychics visualizing them.

This means that ACS production is abmysally slow; due to how fucking complex the damn things are.

Whereas....a slab of armor using basic ACS material would be a lot simpler for the said psychics to visualize/assemble.



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 02:24am
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Wasn't it a recurring theme that much of Earth's Galtech adaptations turned out to be ill conceived or poorly designed? I recall some complaint by the users about the grav gun's excessive firepower coming back to bite them later on. On the tank tangent, that's probably addressed in Watch On The Rhine in some way.

Ahriman238 wrote:
Quote:
With each shot the fifty caliber slammed into her shoulder like the kick of a horse, nearly unseating her from her perch in the tree. But when the two-ounce rounds punched through the Posleen's centauroid chests the horse-sized creatures were hurled sideways, plate-sized exit holes and fountains of yellow ichor marking their end. Just as she reloaded, right on time, the first God King rushed into view, harness half slung. The leader caste was as easy meat as the rest and went up to the great smorgasbord in the sky, flattened across the deceased guard at its door.

.50 caliber sniper rounds can kill Posleen easily. Not really surprising. When I was a kid my dad used to tell me a story, can’t really vouch for its veracity. He said that in the Spanish-American war it became common to find an officer with his head three feet away, a local with five holes in him slumped over the body, and an empty gun. The officer would empty his .22 into the enemy, who before he died would manage to stagger over and kill and the officer with a machete. When the War Department heard this, they experimented with various barrel sizes, firing guns into a paddock until they found a caliber that would knock a cow off of its feet, and the cow would stay down. Thus, my father assured me, the age of .30 and larger calibers began.

I mention this story because of the preference given to large caliber weapons in this series. It’s even said at one point (not planning on digging up the quotation) that an M-16 ‘won’t cut the mustard with these guys.’ Guns that knock over cows are in demand.
That hits on one of the things that bugged me about Ringo's writing in this series. He hits a lot of firearms fanboy buttons. .50 cal sniper rifles as the weapon of choice for snipers, 7.62-ish caliber for the AIW, 16-inch guns on the antilander weapon system, and possibly whatever pistol they ended up handing to Cally, I don't remember that part too clearly. It's like a checklist of things to include to fit in with that certain crowd.



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 01:07pm
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Ahriman238 wrote:
If I get that far, expect a very long rant about the SheVa tank. I actually looked over the chapter where its introduced in book 3, and calculated the kinetic energy of the cannon at ~54 megajoules. Immediatly followed by 'that can't be right,' but I ran the numbers again and got the same result.
Hmm. That's probably his stated figures being off. It's basically a 16" self-propelled gun; I'd expect performance parameters broadly in line with 16" naval artillery, which means a ~1000 kg shell moving at several hundred meters per second. That's going to be up in the hundreds of megajoules.

Also, joules aren't all that matters here- a big part of the issue for engaging Posleen ships is penetration of the materials that go into their protection scheme. Impactors may behave very differently depending on their size, mass, geometry, and so on.

For instance, Posleen ship armor schemes might include layers of 'Whipple shield' material which are very effective at stopping 'hypervelocity' impacts, but somewhat less useful against a high-mass object coming at Mach 2 or 3.

On top of which, the SheVa normally fires nuclear rounds, which makes kinetic impact energy largely irrelevant...

Quote:
That's the second time someone's mentioned psychics in this thread. I thought there weren't any psychics in-setting?
Sohon adepts. What they do may not be 'psychic powers,' but it comes damned close.

MKSheppard wrote:
Best part is that they're put together atom by fucking atom by said psychics visualizing them.

This means that ACS production is abmysally slow; due to how fucking complex the damn things are.

Whereas....a slab of armor using basic ACS material would be a lot simpler for the said psychics to visualize/assemble.
Not necessarily. Suppose the fabrication process for ACS armor material goes like this:

-Sohon adept starts with a sheet of steel/ceramic/whatever worked into the right shape by conventional machine tools- this is just a starting point or substrate, mind you, so that they have something to work from.
-Adept concentrates on making nanites do what they want, willing the particular unphysical arrangement of atoms that gives ACS armor its ludicrous properties.
-This material is deposited, bit by bit, in layers onto the original substrate. Like electroplating, but with a psychic managing it.
-Adept keeps going until the plate is finished to the desired thickness.
-Substrate is removed, to be reused or not as the case may be.

Now, in this case, the limiting factor on the rate of fabrication may not have anything to do with the shape of the plate. The adept's job isn't to take bar stock and turn it into precision-machined, complex-curved shapes. It's to make sure that the arrangement of the material is correct on the atomic level. If so, then this is about as hard for one ton of complex-curved plates as it is for a one ton rectangular-prism shaped slab: on the atomic level, the overall shape doesn't matter. The job of getting the shape right is handled by the substrate (which is easy to make) and possibly some lidar instruments in the chamber where it's being fabricated (which go 'ding' when the thickness is built up enough).

So the Sohon adept's limit may be "I can only ensure the proper atomic alignment for fifty milligrams of armor material per second." It doesn't matter whether the material is a slab for a tank's turret armor, or a curved piece for an ACS helmet; it's still going to get made at a fixed rate of about one kilogram per six adept-hours of labor.

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 02:57pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
I think he retconned that.


It wouldnt surprise me. I like the Posleen series, don't get me wrong, but the series is one giant series of retcons after another. It sorta starts breaking suspension of disbelief for me the way Honorverse space combat does post-podnaught (I can't quite wrap my head around the resource wastage they use in sheer numbers of missiles.)

Quote:
They wouldn't have large stockpiles on hand to salvage until after the Posleen landings on Earth, after the events of Book Two- though, yes, they should have tried to ship home some gear from the alien planets they were fighting on.


Well thats kinda the point. Although as was pointed out they were fighting offplanet (and probably capturing shit as well.)

To be honest though I'm complaining about a rather minor facet of the whole "resource allocation/usage" aspect of the novels themselves. It's not so much that its bad per se - I could accept "bad" if it were, say, a satire on the American procurement system, but the way it's handled in the books in all aspects is positively schizophrenic. One novel things are impossible, the next they suddnely become possible (like the way later novels decided to introduce the Abrams.) Some more consistency on that score would have been nice.

Quote:
The justification, not saying I approve, seems to be that basically all GalTech weapons are handmade prototypes. The difficulty of making them has a lot more to do with availability (since they're made in specialized tanks of nanites controlled by psychics) than it does with weight or machine tool steps or the things that govern Earthly manufacture. To the point where making a hundred thousand ludicrously overpowered rifles was actually more viable than making a hundred million equivalents of the Posleen 1mm railgun to arm the entire militaries of Earth.


I vaguely recall that too, so you have a point, but then again I was probably 'missing the forest for the trees' - it's that damn schizo way tech gets used in this series and the way shit gets introduced or applied. I mean if we really are honest, there was nothing wrong with all the basic weapons the humans had in dealing with the posleen, barring the problems with the saucers and landers. I was thinking about this last nite - do they really even *need* large numbers of railguns or lasers, except perhaps as anti-vehicle weapons (if that?) All they would really need would be fancy explosive ammunition (which, given what they could provide to the ACS, could be provided for SHEVAs, etc. shouldn't be an issue, especially if they use only a fraction of the antimatter that goes into powering the ridiculously-overpowered grav guns.) for grenades or bullets - but if they put say a tiny particle of antimatter inside a 5.56 mm bullet or something, wouldn't that help enhance the kill-power or something? And if not for regular rifles, then they could adopt something akin to the 20mm micro grenade launchers that have been proposed.

Hell the ACS suits worked perfectly fine as grenade launching platforms iwhtout the grav guns (mortar yield grenades with a 1.2 km range? seems okay to me.) I could have bought that.



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 03:08pm
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Ahriman238 wrote:
Yes, one quickly gets the impression that internal consistency and physics research were not priorities for this series.


It's more the lack of internal consistency that bugs me, rather than the poor use of physics terminology. That's not uncommon for sci fi, but it's pretty grating in this novel. Like in book 4 when they suddenly decide thy can use mass nukespamming to attack the Posleen - I'm pretty sure that was declared "impossible" early on.


Quote:
In Gust Front they say that Expeditionary force at Diess captured thousands of Posleen ships after the fighting was over there. They make a considerable profit auctioning them off, since the Galactics are hard up for FTL craft. Then we have Earth defended by shitbox multiple-centuries-old converted freighters, meaning they had a couple of missile pods mounted on. You'd think they'd keep a couple ships for study and Home Defense. Hell, access to the Posleen Datanet would be invaluable.


It's possible there was Darhel intervention there which hampered things - there was supposed to be alot of Darhel meddling which fucked things up for the humans, but again thats where things start to break down for me. I can't quite buy the idea that these super Darhel manipulators have such fine and absolute control that they could fuck things up so precsiely as to contrive them the way Ringo wanted it. It just seems so artificial. And that everyone would be totally, absolutely unaware of this...

It's kinda like the political commentary in Watch on the Rhine in the way it gets so grating. It's so unnatural and stilted it just brings the whole story to a screeching halt.

Quote:
If I get that far, expect a very long rant about the SheVa tank. I actually looked over the chapter where its introduced in book 3, and calculated the kinetic energy of the cannon at ~54 megajoules. Immediatly followed by 'that can't be right,' but I ran the numbers again and got the same result.


I remember some changing numbers for tha ttoo. The velocity being around 2 kms or so in book 3 but I think it hit 10 km/s in book 4. Or something.

Quote:
In fairness, there were plenty of soldiers, scientists, and engineers at the conference, and most of the sci-fi authors they picked were former military. I attribute it to an attempt at lateral thinking.


This is where the schizo aspect bugs me again. I could buy some of the absurdity and stupidity (like the grav gun) being a satire on say, American Military Procurement, but it never really consistnetly comes across as that - they seem to think it's actually a useful weapon, and it never gets replaced despite all the flaws it has (like the "running out of antimatter and having t power it off the suit.' - that wouldn't have been a problem had ACS suits been designed as grenade platforms, for example.)

As a "serious" weapon (or even one conceived of as serious) it doesn't stand up either given its flaws and its grossly overinflated power vs infantry (yes it blows up a posleen like 100-50 kilos of TNT per hit. that IS overkill when regular infantry can kill them with standard human rifles too) It just comes across as the sort of weapon some retarded fanboy would dream up just to have some bizarre 300-esque "Last stand" scenario involving small numbers with ridiculous firepower against massive hordes (Which, ironically, we get in Helle's Faire.)

Oh and then there's the whole "Grandpa O'Neill and Callie" angle which became TREMENDOUSLY grating and incredibly stupid (WE BEAT THE POSLEEN DUE TO PLUCKY FRONTIER MILITIA NUTCASE TYPES.) I half expected him by book 4 to be running the Right Wing Militia Daycare or something. Although TBH most of the subplots in Gust Front were pretty boring (I hated most of the book up until the last third or so when the Posleen ACTUALLY arrived.)



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 03:16pm
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Oh god, you made me remember the whole bit about powering the grav guns with little particles of antimatter; which of course, you can only get from the Galactics.

NOBODY in the Posleenverse military procurement system saw that huge bottleneck in logistics coming -- namely making your super infantry suit rely on a item that can only be obtained via reverse lend lease from the Galactics -- meaning its doubtful if you can actually keep up supplies of the stuff once Posleenfall occurs and resupply runs from Galactic-land become problematic to impossible.

Not to mention the absurd waste of the ACS grav guns' rate of fire excaberating this problem a million times.



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 03:22pm
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I thought they had their own antimatter production at some point, givne that in either book 3 or 4 SheVas were tossing antimatter charges rather than conventional nuclear (I remember in book 3 they were using nuclear charges. Maybe I'm remembering wrong?)

But in any case I'm less bothered by the idea they DIDN'T see the bottleneck (it's not inconceivable for humans to be short term planners - we have so many real life examples of that to go on) I'm bothered by the bizarre pattern of behaviour that gets displayed, and how it changes from one book to the next (or even one chapter to the next). It's like Ringo sees a new shiny object then forgets what he said before and then chases after the new idea... Schizo is the only term I can think of to describe it, because its not even consistnetly bad. Artificial-feeling is another way to describe it, perhaps.

On the plus side, I did like how he hangled the Posleen in later books. They didn't quite stay the mindless human wave suicide hordes at the start of the book (or at least, they tried more ideas as time went on.)

I do agree about the grav gun rate of fire. They could have chopped that by at least an order of magnitude and not had problems. More to the point, you don't need "tens of kilos" of TNT to stop a person - blowing them apart is excssive nevermind killing any ability to overpenetrate. A couple kilos at most would have worked, and quite possibly less depending on how you design it.

for some odd reason now I have this mental image of pre-Fallout American powered armored troops doing better than the ACS. Or maybe just the Brotherhood of Steel :P



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 03:45pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:
If I get that far, expect a very long rant about the SheVa tank. I actually looked over the chapter where its introduced in book 3, and calculated the kinetic energy of the cannon at ~54 megajoules. Immediatly followed by 'that can't be right,' but I ran the numbers again and got the same result.
Hmm. That's probably his stated figures being off. It's basically a 16" self-propelled gun; I'd expect performance parameters broadly in line with 16" naval artillery, which means a ~1000 kg shell moving at several hundred meters per second. That's going to be up in the hundreds of megajoules.

Also, joules aren't all that matters here- a big part of the issue for engaging Posleen ships is penetration of the materials that go into their protection scheme. Impactors may behave very differently depending on their size, mass, geometry, and so on.

For instance, Posleen ship armor schemes might include layers of 'Whipple shield' material which are very effective at stopping 'hypervelocity' impacts, but somewhat less useful against a high-mass object coming at Mach 2 or 3.

On top of which, the SheVa normally fires nuclear rounds, which makes kinetic impact energy largely irrelevant...



Actually, that's my fault. I went over everything again, the math was good, it's the numbers I entered in. I sort of... misplaced a decimal point when I first wrote down the density of DU. Umm... sorry? :oops:

On the plus side, with the new mass figures the SheVa round's KE is around 3.5 gigajoules. Much more satisfactory. The KE matters because it's said that a SheVa can usually kill a Lamprey or even a C-Dec with KE alone. The 10 KT antimatter bomb is just there to turn 'usually' into 'always.'

On the down side, I used the same DU density figure for the grav gun calcs, which means I have to do them over. :banghead:



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 06:47pm
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Connor MacLeod wrote:
But in any case I'm less bothered by the idea they DIDN'T see the bottleneck


Um, this is a weapon that fires 500 rounds a second, or about 30,000 rounds a minute.

A 8-man squad of ACS soldiers firing their M300 Grav Guns in half second bursts every five seconds would chew through 24,000 rounds each minute of intense fighting.

Given that urban fighting can go on for several hours of sporadic fighting, I can easily see that ACS squad chewing through about a million rounds a day, assuming a day's battle is 45 minutes of intense combat.

This is just a single squad.

Based off the one-combat, two-resting organization used by triangular organizations; an ACS battalion's active company would use about 16 million rounds a day.

Considering the Germans only consumed 400~ million rounds of 7.92mm cartridges for all weapons systems in the 1939 Polish campaign...

...and that each M300 round has a dollop of anti-matter as a propellant charge....

Yeah, the logistics implications of that will be missed by everyone, at all levels of the military establishment.

Quote:
(it's not inconceivable for humans to be short term planners - we have so many real life examples of that to go on)


Actually, if you want to be realistic and show the problems of a rushjob mobilization; you should have stuff break down or explode.

Normally, before it accepts a new weapon, whether it's a anti tank missile or main gun round for a tank, the US Army does a very extensive testing program lasting years.

Back when the Army was working on the M256 120mm main gun upgrade for the Abrams in the 1980s, one of the tests was to take the proposed M827 round, soak it in oil, then freeze it to -40F and once it'd sat around for a few hours at that temperature, put it into a test gun and fire it.

On 3 March 1983, there was a catastrophic failure during one of these soak-tests, in which the breech block blew right off the back of the gun. That failure cost ten months delay -- it wasn't until January 1984 that the Army gave a go-ahead to resume work on the M256 120mm gun.

The ACS suits and M300 rifles should have clearly been symptomatic of a rush job mobilization to design the suit, test it somewhat, and then get it distributed to the troops early enough before Posleenfall that the troops could train with it.

There should have been cartridge feed failures, in which a round gets jammed in the M300 breech, and then ten other cartridges fire into that jam before the M300's onboard computer detects the blockage. End result, the gun explodes, which in turn sets off the anti-matter propellant in stowage, resulting in an entire platoon going up in a blinding flash.

...and the ACS deployment schedule takes a 24-month delay. :mrgreen:

Quote:
I'm bothered by the bizarre pattern of behaviour that gets displayed, and how it changes from one book to the next (or even one chapter to the next).


You mean like how in the opening crawl of one book, he talked about how the last transmission from the Russian command came from such and such place, and then later in the books talks about how SheVas are powered by pitchblende mined from above the cold-line that the Posleen hate/don't want to go north of? :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-20 10:17pm
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Okay, I’m back. First up, the corrected grav gun calcs. This time I’m posting every step, in case someone feels like disputing the numbers, or I make another gaffe.
Density is 19.1 grams per cubic centimeter. Volume, as previously calculated is 1.4 cubic centimeters. Mass=26.74 grams
C= 299,792 km/s
Divided by ten is 29,979,200 m/s
Times 3, velocity= 89,937,600 m/s
KE=1/2 m(26.74)v(89,937,600) squared. At this point I gave up and fed the numbers to an online physics calculator.
KE= 108.14 terajoules.
Pretty damned impressive, more because of the speed than the size, but that’s always going to be true when you’re discussing objects moving faster than .10 c.

And now an infamous portion:

Quote:
The buffet of the suit occurred as the God King commander performed his last panicked course change. The course change placed Mike's suit slightly around the corner from the antimatter limpet mine and above it when it detonated.

The first few microseconds as the rifle ammunition and grenades detonated saw a number of occurrences. The ship was rocked backwards and up, slamming into the suit again. The wash of the initial explosion destroyed the plasma cannon that had been firing at the rapidly retreating suits permitting the last few survivors of the platoon to make good their escape. And the buffet of the explosion slapped the ship commander into the controls, taking him out of play.

The second impact also slapped Mike into unconsciousness. At that action the biotic-gestalt reacted and injected him with Hiberzine; once the user was out of play the gestalt could make its own tactical judgments. It analyzed the situation:

1. A nuclear weapon was detonating in close
proximity to its ProtoPlasmic Intelligence
System.
2. The likelihood of the survival of its PPIS
was low.
3. Termination of the PPIS would result in the
termination of the gestalt.

This analysis was suboptimal. Immediate remedies for the analysis were in order.
Thus, when the initial wash of energy swirled around the edge of the cruiser, it struck a set of armor that was rapidly becoming as insubstantial as a feather. The suit was nearly thirty meters away from the ship, nearly inertialess, being flooded with oxygen, and outward bound at high acceleration when the main packet detonated. Under the circumstances, it was the best the gestalt could do.

The explosion tore the space cruiser in half, vaporizing the facet against which the material had been placed and blasting two separated pieces of ship away from each other. One was blasted sideways into the nearest megascraper, which was already coming apart from the nuclear wave front. It slammed into the top of the mile-cube building and smashed half of it to the ground, taking out two more buildings as well before it finally ground to a halt.
The other section of the massive ship was blasted nearly straight up. It rose on the edge of the mushroom cloud, a black spot of malignance on the edge of the beautiful fireball, and finally curved back downward to smash into another Posleen-held megascraper.

Mike's suit was near the former section of ship. Initially shielded by the downward hurtling half of the space cruiser, it was soon caught on the edge of the main nuclear fireball and rapidly accelerated to over four thousand miles per hour. The suit skipped across two megascraper roofs, where the legs were scraped off, and finally through a seaside megascraper, where it lost one arm. The remnant cuirass and helmet came out of the megascraper on the back side of the wave front and skipped several times on the roiled ocean. Finally the bit of detritus slowed enough to enter the water and settled beneath the waves in two hundred feet of water.

An armored combat suit cost nearly as much as a combat shuttle, and even the most damaged suit held some residual value. When the suit was settled in its watery grave, the final salvage beacon, installed at the absolute insistence of the Darhel bean counters, began its plaintive bleat.


Mike O’Neal survives a close (30 meter) encounter with a nuclear detonation, thanks to his suit and more than a lot of luck. This should be considered the absolute upper limit of suit protection, since it occurs in the most favorable conditions reasonably possible, and the suit and user are still barely-salvageable wrecks at the end of it. Suit impacts several objects at speeds in excess of 4,000 mph (Arrgh! He even does it with speeds!) and the user survives, though he loses a limb in each impact. Yet it can be ‘seriously damaged’ by impacts at 10 m/s?

Also, note that each suit has a salvage beacon, and that Hiberzine can sustain life after a concussion, multiple limb loss, and immersion in seawater for a week. Also the gestalt: the suits ‘autonomic nervous system’ independent of both user and AID. Over time the suit learns the habits and quirks of its user, greatly increasing reaction time. In an emergency, or the event of unconsciousness, the gestalt can take over if threatened.

I am however more interested in the effect of the nuke upon the C-Dec. Said nuke was composed mostly of a quarter-kilo of antimatter, yield figures are never raised. Still, it was enough to violently tear a C-Dec in two. While that’s certainly better than most earthly structures or craft would up from a contact nuke, it seems clear that in space at least, Star Wars or 40K level ‘verses would eat Posleen ships for breakfast. Well, maybe not if there were thousands of them swarming and only a couple of ships on the opposing side, but at that point, is it even worth debating?

They’d probably make out just fine against Trek though.

This concludes Hymn before Battle, I've already started on Gust Front but it will take a while. I'm breaking it up by book partly because it's more convenient for me, and partly because there is a considerable time difference between books 1 and 2 (not nearly as bad as 2 and 3 though) and a few changes are made in ACS deisgn and doctrine. Many more changes are made to the existing military, as anti-Posleen weapons and tactics for the non-armored shape up, so I'll be adding a category about that. Consider each book a stage, a force sub as of book 1 would be very different from one of book 3 etc.



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-21 01:07am
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Quote:
I'm bothered by the bizarre pattern of behaviour that gets displayed, and how it changes from one book to the next (or even one chapter to the next).


The only way I can rationalise any of the behaviour in these books is if every member of the human race has been lobotomised.

From that whole bullshit 'we need to get the authors to help us because our thousands of engineers and military experts are too stupid to understand the implications of new science' to the fact that their strategy for dealing with the horde of stupid suicidal space lizards is to build and send a small number of superdoubleplusgood power armoured soldiers into the middle of a fucking city (the one environment where they can possibly be matched man to man by the space lizards) to fight them instead of shouting 'nuclear land mines' or even just 'really big land mines' indicates none of them are older than five. Fuck foreseeing logistical problems, I'm surprised these people remember to breathe.

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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-21 09:43am
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MKSheppard wrote:
Connor MacLeod wrote:
But in any case I'm less bothered by the idea they DIDN'T see the bottleneck


Um, this is a weapon that fires 500 rounds a second, or about 30,000 rounds a minute.

A 8-man squad of ACS soldiers firing their M300 Grav Guns in half second bursts every five seconds would chew through 24,000 rounds each minute of intense fighting.

Given that urban fighting can go on for several hours of sporadic fighting, I can easily see that ACS squad chewing through about a million rounds a day, assuming a day's battle is 45 minutes of intense combat.

This is just a single squad.

Based off the one-combat, two-resting organization used by triangular organizations; an ACS battalion's active company would use about 16 million rounds a day.

Considering the Germans only consumed 400~ million rounds of 7.92mm cartridges for all weapons systems in the 1939 Polish campaign...


I don't see why the "number of bullets they shoot" is neccesairly the problem, but alot of that stems from how you view the ammo. In alot of ways an ACS grav gun is more like a shotgun than a proper rifle - it's designed to shoot "bursts" of those tiny teardrop projectiles in a single discharge - at least that's the context I've always derived from it (It's how they were described in Hell's Fiare that I recall.) In that sense they work alot like "gauss weapons" from various sci fi franchises: Starcraft, the Honorverse, Mass Effect, Renegade Legion (possibly Battletech I dont know that universe well though), or the Eldar Shuriken weapons from 40K. Large numbers of small projectiles at high velocity.

Indeed given the "human wave" approach and the limited number of ACS suits period they probably SHOULD have gone with high rates of fire. Hell they should have had Grav guns as support weapons that could be used apart from the armor. Although it's also accurate to say they probably shouldn't have relied entirely on JUST grav guns to arm the ACS. I mean given all the other crazy miltech that showed up in the Posleen novels (Metalstorm FTW) it shouldnt have been impossible for Posleenverse America to be equipping Mike and his folk with miniguns or somthing. Although M60s probably would have worked as well : :mrgreen:

The actual problem with the grav gun comes in the form of the overkill "per shot" and that doesn't make sense. You really don't need to explode people as if you cram tens or hundreds of pounds of TNT into their bodies - half a pound per target at most, if that, should guarantee a kill on a Posleen (probably much less than that given normal assault rifles still work fine.) And considering that energy draw (powering the grav gun off the suit's own batteries) was itself a huge problem...) a few kj per pellet should be MORE than sufficient to kill a posleen, and would massively ramp up the suit's power endurance

Quote:
...and that each M300 round has a dollop of anti-matter as a propellant charge....


Yeah, that was pretty silly. They should have run the grav gun off a battery like they did the suits.


Quote:
Yeah, the logistics implications of that will be missed by everyone, at all levels of the military establishment.


Having not read the novels for some time, is there actual proof of the scope of their ammunition manufacturing capabilities or even how it is done? Numbers? Simply saying OH MY GOD THEY USE A SHIT TON OF AMMO THEY'LL NEVER KEEP UP makes no fucking sense. Hell they never actually had problems producing the teardrops themselves as I recall, it was simply the antimatter production that was the problem. And if you ramp down on the firepower of the guns by orders of magnitude you wouldn't have nearly the power issues with the suits - and they wouldnt need to stick antimatter in the pellets.

Again its the sheer power wastage of the guns that makes them absurd than the actual rate of fire.

Quote:
Actually, if you want to be realistic and show the problems of a rushjob mobilization; you should have stuff break down or explode.

Normally, before it accepts a new weapon, whether it's a anti tank missile or main gun round for a tank, the US Army does a very extensive testing program lasting years.

Back when the Army was working on the M256 120mm main gun upgrade for the Abrams in the 1980s, one of the tests was to take the proposed M827 round, soak it in oil, then freeze it to -40F and once it'd sat around for a few hours at that temperature, put it into a test gun and fire it.

On 3 March 1983, there was a catastrophic failure during one of these soak-tests, in which the breech block blew right off the back of the gun. That failure cost ten months delay -- it wasn't until January 1984 that the Army gave a go-ahead to resume work on the M256 120mm gun.

The ACS suits and M300 rifles should have clearly been symptomatic of a rush job mobilization to design the suit, test it somewhat, and then get it distributed to the troops early enough before Posleenfall that the troops could train with it.

There should have been cartridge feed failures, in which a round gets jammed in the M300 breech, and then ten other cartridges fire into that jam before the M300's onboard computer detects the blockage. End result, the gun explodes, which in turn sets off the anti-matter propellant in stowage, resulting in an entire platoon going up in a blinding flash.

...and the ACS deployment schedule takes a 24-month delay. :mrgreen:


I notice alot of your examples are from decades ago. How has this held up into the 90s onwards? My own impression is that things have gotten more fucked up over time not less. (then again I dont exactly remember what the timeframe for the Posleen novels were either, so this may be completely irrelevant. Then again it's alternate universe period, so someone could - and probably would - argue that modern standards need not apply. I mean Kratman Germany seems like the twilight zone compared to real life...)

Quote:
You mean like how in the opening crawl of one book, he talked about how the last transmission from the Russian command came from such and such place, and then later in the books talks about how SheVas are powered by pitchblende mined from above the cold-line that the Posleen hate/don't want to go north of? :lol:


Yes that. If Germany and the US can start salvaging and utilizing Posleen tech I don't see why the Russians or Chinese wouldn't be able to. Especially since as already noted, normal weapons work fine against the Posleen and IIRC the Russians and Chinese both have quite large and well armed militaries and lots of territory to play in.

Of course if I remember correctly Ringo had the Posleen hitting other parts of the globe more heavily than the US for some reason (LUCKY AMERICA!) Surely it must be god's blessing :P



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-21 09:52am
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Alkaloid wrote:
The only way I can rationalise any of the behaviour in these books is if every member of the human race has been lobotomised.

From that whole bullshit 'we need to get the authors to help us because our thousands of engineers and military experts are too stupid to understand the implications of new science' to the fact that their strategy for dealing with the horde of stupid suicidal space lizards is to build and send a small number of superdoubleplusgood power armoured soldiers into the middle of a fucking city (the one environment where they can possibly be matched man to man by the space lizards) to fight them instead of shouting 'nuclear land mines' or even just 'really big land mines' indicates none of them are older than five. Fuck foreseeing logistical problems, I'm surprised these people remember to breathe.


I think you're overstating the matter. Some sci fi fans nowadays seem to have this obsessive hard on with "realism" and "practicality" as if the fucking human race has to behave like a bunch of super-logical fucking computers. A more egregious and extreme example of this was the whole "RDA dropping rocks/orbitally bombarding the Na'Vi" idea (not to say that you or anyone in this thread neccesarily champions that idea... I dont remember enough about those debates to say so.) but I think that it's a bit silly to expect humans in sci fi to NOT behave like humans. I don't neccesarily subscribe into this idea that we'll neccesarily have some inevitable super-duper cultural/technological revolution where everything becomes utopion or perfect or everyone will have some super duper galactic gestalt superconsciousness or something. I'm not a big fan of Transhumanism, or Singularities, or whatever the "in" terms for those sorts of things are. I think its perfectly possible and plausible to figure on humanity in a "sci fi" setting to behave as it does now, for the reasons I already outlined (humans are by nature rather short term thinkers. It's not that we aren't capable of long term thought, it's just not osmething that is second nature to us, as a rule.)

It's kinda hard to describe what works (or at least what I feel works), except to describe it as the setting and the things in it have to feel "natural" - there has to be an internal logic or consistency to things for it to work out. It doesn't have to be "hard" sci fi to be internally consistent or plausible, but that certainly helps - but it does have to make sense from the inside. And honestly that's one of the ways Ringo's novels kinda drop the ball. Things always change from novel to novel or scene to scene (or even collaborator to collaborator) and when it can't stay consistent with itself... it kinda breaks your suspension of disbelief.

The universe at the start of the series in "A Hymn before battle" never really had the same feel as the series by he third or fourth novel. It actually even feels different.. in the way that the prequel movies feel drastically different from the OT in many ways. Different isn't neccesarily bad if its done well, but in the case of the posleen novels I'm not sure "different" is good.



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-21 10:15am
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Ahriman238 wrote:
Okay, I’m back. First up, the corrected grav gun calcs. This time I’m posting every step, in case someone feels like disputing the numbers, or I make another gaffe.
Density is 19.1 grams per cubic centimeter. Volume, as previously calculated is 1.4 cubic centimeters. Mass=26.74 grams
C= 299,792 km/s
Divided by ten is 29,979,200 m/s
Times 3, velocity= 89,937,600 m/s
KE=1/2 m(26.74)v(89,937,600) squared. At this point I gave up and fed the numbers to an online physics calculator.
KE= 108.14 terajoules.
Pretty damned impressive, more because of the speed than the size, but that’s always going to be true when you’re discussing objects moving faster than .10 c.


You assumed the rounds were like 3 mm across and 2mm long. IIRC they were 4mm long, but eh. 10 mm to the cm.. we have .3 cm diamter times .2 (or .4) cm length.. I get roughly .3-.35 gramms (or twice that for 4mm rather than 2)in mass Although that's nowhere near the two ounces mentioned in Hymn before battle.. yet more mind changing. Anyhow, at 10% of c you get around 300 GJ per teardrop.. around 75 tons of TNT per teardrop. That's actually a bit excessive. Even if you assume each single teardrop was equla to 100 kilos of TNT you would only get around 50 tons of TNT for the entire barrage.

Hell by your calcs they're pumping out KILOTONS of KE per shot. Posleen shouldn't be exploding, they should be reduced to a fine mist if not a plasma, as should anyone nearby.

Recoil is even a bigger problem. We're talking something like 20,000 kg*m/s worth of momentum per teardrop for my mere "75 ton TNT" calcs , at full rOF we're tlaking 10 million kg*m/s worth of momentum - or enough to push a 60 ton tank to nearly half the speed of sound. These guns literally have more recoil than a MBT or artillery gun, which is.. probably wrong, considering they each way less than half a ton and their AG can't handle hypersonic flight that I recall (we're talking on the order of accelerating to thousands of gees, instantly here.) nuclear level teardrops only make it WORSE.

I vaguely recall arguing once that top speed for the rounds was maybe 300 km/s which "only" gave you 7 kg of TNT per pellet. so 500 of them was "merely" 3.5 tons of tnt per second, and even then the recoil is pretty absurd ("only" 100,000 kg*m/s IIRC. meaning you can accelerate at mabe 20 gees rather than thousands..) I'd even actually say 30 km/s is probably better off and fits the bulk of the evidence better ("only" 315 kj per pellet, which works out to "only about 38 kg of tnt per second, but the recoil is also only about a half to a third that of a MBT.. lol) Really arguing much more than a few hundred km/s velocity is asking for trouble.

I would also point out it is probably not a good idea to put much stock in "relativistic" or "near-c" or such references Ringo often makes. He's argued those posleen "hypervelocity" missiles (which are large bulky things which must weigh several kg at least) can all get up to like .3c or so before.. which is... interesting as far as accel and KE go for a man portable infantry weapon (a small, directed nuclear weapon for all intents and purposes.)



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 Post subject: Re: A bit of analysis: Posleen War PostPosted: 2011-09-21 01:01pm
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Quote:
I don't see why the "number of bullets they shoot" is neccesairly the problem


It's a big problem when each microbullet you fire uses antimatter to go bang.

You later point out in your post, that producing the microbullets was never a problem for humanity -- it was just getting the antimatter to make the microbullets go bang. You also pointed out that if they had lowered the firepower of the M300 downwards, then they wouldn't have needed the antimatter in the first place.

You are not a military strategist/logistican. Neither am I. Yet we both saw this issue right away with the M300 as a weapon.

What does that say about the US Military in Posleenverseland? That they've all gotten total lobotomies?

Quote:
I mean given all the other crazy miltech that showed up in the Posleen novels (Metalstorm FTW) it shouldnt have been impossible for Posleenverse America to be equipping Mike and his folk with miniguns or somthing.


In the later novels, circa 2009 in Posleenverse time; the US Army deploys the M1A4 Abrams; which has:

Quote:
The M-1A4's turret and primary frontal armor was a layer of battle-steel, room-temperature superconductor, nano-tube composite and synthetic sapphire threading. The combination meant that frontally it could shed off the fire of anything but a direct and unlucky HVM hit.


I kind of like how we had to wait most of a half decade after Posleenfall before people realized how stupid it was to give ACS suits GalTech exclusively.

But back to the point, the A4 had a dramatically revised armament outfit:

Quote:
To reduce the possibility of being flanked, and to deal with the main problem of the Posleen, the fact that there were just way too many of them, the gunnery of the tanks was modified. On either side of the turret "add-on" weapons were installed. These were 25mm cannons like the main gun of a Bradley, but where a Bradley had one gun the Abrams were mounted with first two, one on either side, then four and finally eight. The .50 caliber TC gun was replaced with a 7.62 Gatling gun capable of hurling 8000 rounds a minute and the "coaxial" 7.62 machine gun mounted alongside the main gun was switched out for another. Even excepting their main gun, the "A4" Abrams could hurl an amazing mass of lead.

The main gun, however, remained a problem. It seemed a shame to pull the weapon, since it was about as good as it got from a cannon perspective. Finally, it was decided to leave the cannon in place and simply change the ammo mix. The ammo bin still carried a few "silver bullets" for old time's sake, but the majority of the rounds stored in an A4 were canister.


Likewise, he seems to like miniguns:

Quote:
The Bradley was one of the scout systems equipped with double 7.62 Gatling guns; and it was getting ready to do some harvesting.


The entire thing is just a fantastically *fap fap fap* worthy thing; and I'd like to tie it into one of your comments:

Quote:
Indeed given the "human wave" approach and the limited number of ACS suits period they probably SHOULD have gone with high rates of fire.


The problem is that when you fight epically mass human wave attacks; you don't want firehoses (aka Puff the magic dragon / M300 Grav Gun / Miniguns), because all that firepower in such a short time will just vaporize, shred, puree, and mistify the first rank or two of the Posleen human wave attack, leaving the rest of the mass of the Posleen alive and unharmed.

(The third and fourth waves may get some fragmentation damage).

Previously, I had recommended using delay-fuzed 25mm Bushmasters and 40mm Bofors to deal with Posleen Human Waves.

Essentially, you fire them direct fire, and the first two ranks of Posleen get huge holes punched in them by the shells, and then when the shells have reached the fifth rank, the time fuze detonates, spraying shrapnel everywhere.

However, I realize that I was going about it wrong.

The ideal weapon for defeating the Posleen is none other than the mighty mortar, fuzed for airburst.

We know that the Posleen's ADA cannot defeat ballistic projectiles. Given that mortars are ballistic once they leave the tube; the Posleen can't even stop them.

The problem would then become one of producing time fuzes for mortars, since I am assuming you cannot use VT Fuzes (which work using a little radar in the nose) and then training the mortarmen in their use.

Best part is, since the mortar is an indirect fire weapon, you automatically gain protection from Posleen line of sight insta-death weapons because you can park your Humvee or Stryker behind a hill, and rain mortars onto them.

With a time fuze, you can time it so that the shell explodes right above the Posleen ranks; spraying shrapnel downwards into the huge masses, and killing many more than you could ever afford with even an automatic cannon firing delay fuzed ammo.

We could even try to license produce the Russian 2B9 Vasilek 82mm automatic mortar; since it fires from four round clips and also can fire an anti-tank round that penetrates 100mm of RHA.

Quote:
I notice alot of your examples are from decades ago. How has this held up into the 90s onwards? My own impression is that things have gotten more fucked up over time not less.


Generally, the US Military still tests intensively before releasing a brand new round or weapon to the troops; the Iraq-Afghanistan wars aren't existential, so we can afford to take a year or two for testing out a new gun or round before we issue it to the troops in the field.

Quote:
Yes that. If Germany and the US can start salvaging and utilizing Posleen tech I don't see why the Russians or Chinese wouldn't be able to.


I got the exact quotes from When the Devil Dances:

October 12, 2008 Last Transmission: Red Army, Nizhny Novgorod.
October 21, 2008 Official Determination: No coherent field forces outside of North America.

But we have him saying in the same book:

On the other hand, Canada's supplies of pitchblende were plentiful and above the weather-line that the Posleen preferred.

LUL.



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