Ciaphas Cain: For the Emperor - technical analysis thread

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Ciaphas Cain: For the Emperor - technical analysis thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-06 04:40pm

Well this is the first book in the Ciaphas Cain novels, and focuses mainly on the Imperial Guard (Valhallan regiments). while not as "grandiose" as Rennie's works, the Cain novels are enjoyable for their rather humorous if not sometimes absurd and irreverent approach to the 40K universe (I understand some readers did not like this - me, I found it quite engaging.) The novels also seem to feature quite a bit of detail about the capabilities of a "well-equipped" regiment, many of which I will comment on here.

It should be noted that despite being a thicker novel compared to Rennie's works, I actually found fewer quotes (per page) relative to the earlier books (Caves of Ice thus far was different, but I will tackle that later..) As such, the quotes tend to be more widely spaced, although towards the end of the book the references become more numerous. (Indeed, I cover abou tthe first half to third of the novel in my first post.)

As always, I will outline the quotes in segments, and then later link to the particular commentary and add them to the opening post. And of course, commentary relevant to the quotes/implications in the novel are welcome.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-06 04:45pm

Page 21 - Cain mentions having reached his "second century", so he is at least 200 years old. I previously mentioned Horst as possibly being older, so this is unsurprising. Additionally we learn that if deemed important enough (at least locally) such individuals as comissars may warrant life-extension technologies (assuming such tech is not fairly "basic", a poitn which I fully admit I am not certain of.)

Page 60
It was hardly unprecedented for men and women to serve together in the Imperial Guard. Notable units in which this was the norm included the Omicron Rangers, Tanith First, and Calderon Rifles. However, with women making up fewer than ten per cent of the total number under arms, and the vast majority of those serving in single-sex regiments, it wouldn't be that surprising if the 597th excited a certain amount of curiosity among the onlookers present.
According to this quote, approximately one Guardsman in ten is female. (For example, if there are 6 billion Guard total, approximately 600 million would be female.) The bulk of these female troops form single-sex regiments (like the Valhallen 296th) rather than mixed regiments (like the 597th or Tanith First and Only)


Pages 61 & 62
To put it into some kind of perspective, a regiment consists of anything up to half a dozen companies - five in our case, most of which had four or five platoons. The exception was Third Company, which was our logistical support arm, and consisted mainly of transport vehicles, engineering units, and anything else we couldn't find a sensible plae for on the SO&E. All told, that came to much the same thing in headcount. Factor in five squads a platoon, at ten troopers each, plus a command element to keep them all in line, and you're looking at nearly a thousand people by the time you've added in the various specialists andthe different layers of the overall command structure.

Just to add to the confusion, Kasteen had decided to split the squads into five-man fire-teams, anticipating that any open conflict was likely to take place in and around the urban areas. Beating off the tyranids on Cotania had convinced her that smaller formations were easier to coordinate in a city fight than full-strength squads.
Here Cain outlines the organizational structure of the 597th and the troop numbers at the squad, ,platoon, company and regimental level. If you add up the numbers, this comes to around 1,000-1,500 troopers per regiment on average, or just under 2,000 (my count was ~1800) on the high end. Curiously, this seems quite low in comparison to what the Imperial Guard Codex (where Cadiran regimens have 8,000 troops) or the Tanith regiments (which if I remember have about two thousand troops total) or the early 40K evidence (2,000-6,000 troops per regiment.) As previously mentioned, other sources suggest higher figures (750,000 being the largest IIRC, but I vaguely recall somewhere mention of tens of thousands of trroopers per regiment in early sources...) I suppose we can assume most Valhallen regiments are considerably smaller than others.

The bit about Fire teams is explained below.

Page 62
A widespread, though unofficial practice among units experienced in urban warfare. So much so that it's now become part of the standard operating procedure in many regiments, and the ad hoc arrangement persisting to become a permanant feature of their organization.
Here is outlined the practice and purposes behind dividing squads into fire teams.

Page 62 - the Valhallan term "klom" is mentioned as a slang abbreviation for "kilometre." I mention this simply because it may have bearing on the "thule as joule' discussion, representing an example of how terminology is "changed" based on local customs. (In this context, "thule" could be considered a Cadian slang word for "joule".)

Page 67 - The Righteous Wrath A troopship of an unspecified class was noted as being capable of carrying at least four full regiments. Additionally, the estimated numbers of Guardsmen on Gravalax at the time of Cain's arrival was thirty, thousand. A number which Cain considered sufficient for a backwater (but not against the Tau, evidently, as rumors of further reinforcement were mentioned.)

Page 70:
"Some of thier wargear has to be seen to be believed. They've got these things like dreadnoughts, but they're fast, like Astartes infantry but twice the size, and their tanks make the eldar stuff look like they were built by orks..."
Tau battlesuits appear to be nearly as large as Dreadnaughts, but as agile as standard Space Marines (tens of km/hr, IIRC.)

Page 104 - Mention of "two full Imperial Guard regiments" used to suppress a Genestealer uprising on the planet Keffia. While regiments seem to be the more common-frequent level of organization for troops, evidently the use of divisions is not unknown.

PAge 116-117: tau diplomat has a bolter round explode in his chest cavity. Subscript at bottom of page 117 notes that tau blood has cobalt in it rather than iron, which accounts for the coloration differences. (not being big on biology, I have no idea about what this means or if its viable. I simply thought it was an interesting tidbit to mention.)

Page 118 - Cain notes that his communicator was "not secured" when he notifies his escort that the tau delegation's leader had been assasinated, and that both the Imperium and Tau probably would pick up on the transmission. The implication here is that under other (ie combat) circumstances, the comm-bead transmissions would probably be encrypted. (Its also worth noting that it seems fairly common for most regiments, sucha s the valhallans, to be equipped with comm gear. There seems to be a misconception about that in regards to Imperial Guard regiments, even though the use of comm beads is mentioned in more recent codexes.)

Page 119: Kasteen demonstartes that comm beads, or at least the ones that the Valhallan regiments, can pick up on sub-vocalized speech (IE speech/language that is not spoken.) This would be a crucial benefit in stealth situations (conveying commands without giving away noise, although the transmissions themselves would naturally remain detactable.)

Page 122: Cain's comm bead (as well as the comm bead of Colonel Kasteen, who leads the Valhallan 597th) is capable of interfacing with/accessing both internal/regimental (including company and squad-level communciation) and exterrnal "tacitcal" nets (IE local PDF networks and the Arbites forces nets.) Evidently there is a fairly extensive network of communications even on backwater planets (which gives one a very good idea of the typical scope of command and control capabilities, on-planet given how rapidly Kasteen and Cain were able to tap into other frequencies.)

Page: 129 - By Cain's estimation, Tau "nullgrav" technology (and by extension, Eldar and what passes for imperium nullgrav tech) evidently relies on ducted air-fans/jet engines for propulsion - the repulsors simply provide a lifting force..Cain evidently is also quite familiar with the basic concepts of teh technology, which suggests that while rare, it is not considered a really "exotic" or unheard of technology (at least amongst space-traveling types.)

Page 140 - Cain here implies airstrikes, despite being under the control of naval forces (either form space based platforms or detached for local defense.) are a fairly common presence in battles, even urban combat settings (As is artillery.) Then again, we see similar airstrikes employed by the Navy and Arbites forces on Belatis in Execution Hour in a roughly urban setting, so this is unsurprising.

Page 146 - 147: Evidently most PDF regiments (or perhaps merely on Gravalax, I am unsure whether or not this is atypical or common) according to Cain do not have Commisars in their regiments, or at least not in the manner they are present in the Guard (IE fewer in number and removed from the regimental level.)

Page 147 - Cain's laspistol removes "half the face" of a PDF lieutenant in a single shot. Whether this implies blowing half the head away or not is debatable.

Page 148
Whatever skills they'd acquired in basic training were pitifully inadequate in the face of veteran troopers who'd fought a hive fleet and survived. A few tried to stand their ground, snapping off hasty and badly aimed shots before the superior marksmanship of the Valhallens blew bloody, self-cauterizing craters through heads and body armour.
- Mention of "self cauterising" lasgun wounds, which indicates that the damage inflicted by lasguns can have a considerable thermal as well as kinetic effect (as described in various game texts) rather than just one or another (the "kinetic" effect comes from the rapid, violent vaporization of a localized portion of the target, such as the water content of the human body, which creates a shockwave through the material that can shatter/heat a larger target area.) It tends to suggest fairly substantial vaporization occurs as well, ,as the temperatures which cauterization require are fairly high (you can cauterize at lower temperatures, say the boiling point of water, but that requires prolonged time to achieve. Much more rapid cauterization evidently needs much higher temperatures - close to if not at cremation-level temperatures.)

It may seem contradictory for cauterization to occur yet for the wound to be "bloody", but cauterization need not be perfect (likely it probably isn't.) and it is likely the gun blasts out chunks of tissue that are not completely if at all cauterized, which may also be "bloody". Also, dependingo n setting, it may be possible for a lasgun to be purely "kinetic" (IE do damage purely via shockwave without cauterization) or to inflict thermal damage without shock. (The former would be useful against lightly or unarmored targets in order to minimize energy use and maximize damage, whereas the latter would be good for armor piercing or "cutting" attacks like we see in some sources, most notably the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, or in dumping so much energy into body armor that the armor is ablated off or the target "cooks" inside it regardless of dissipation.)

Also, the level of cauterization may vary depending on the type/quality of the armor worn (one of the protective elements of flak armor is likely to minimize the damage that the kinetic/shockwave effect has, both by spreading the thermal energy over a larger area and providing some physical insulation against shock like the large plates seen on Cadian body armor.) and the size/mass/composition of the target (a shot that would cauterize a wound on the human probably would not do the same to a space marine or Ork, for example.)

If we assume that the "crater" is roughly hemispherical (an unproven but not unreasonable supposition, assume the diameter is equal to 1.5x the radius) and assume a 10-15 cm penetration depth (about what is needed to reach the human heart for gunfire.), and assume enough energy is injected to bring water to the boiling point, the energy input would require many hundreds to thousands of kilojoules, especially if fairly significant vaporization occurs (which I do not factor in) These calcs would also be generous, as they are strriking targets equipped with body armor and helemts, which absorb an unknown amount of the energy. (Note however, that given that they don't appear to be blowing the heads of the enemy apart which does limit how big the wounds in this context would be. Not that it is precisely relevant in this case, though, since there are plenty of other calcable incidents for lasgun firepower that are more explicit. This is, though, useful supplementary data.)
Last edited by Connor MacLeod on 2006-12-13 06:55pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Vendetta » 2006-12-06 07:41pm

PAge 116-117: tau diplomat has a bolter round explode in his chest cavity. Subscript at bottom of page 117 notes that tau blood has cobalt in it rather than iron, which accounts for the coloration differences. (not being big on biology, I have no idea about what this means or if its viable. I simply thought it was an interesting tidbit to mention.)
It's hard to think what cobalt would be doing in anything's blood, it doesn't react particularly strongly with most gases, so wouldn't be great in a transport protein. I don't believe that Tau breathe any particularly funky gases (the only gas that makes cobalt go blue in compound is chlorine). Hemocyanin instead of Hemoglobin would produce a blue colour, but it's not as efficient an oxygen carrier, and so is less likely in a larger lifeform.

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Post by Stormbringer » 2006-12-06 09:27pm

Additionally we learn that if deemed important enough (at least locally) such individuals as comissars may warrant life-extension technologies (assuming such tech is not fairly "basic", a poitn which I fully admit I am not certain of.)
Rejuvenation and anti-aging therapy is considered almost routine among the upper-middle to out right upper classes of the civilian world and above about a general's rank in the command echelons of the military. To give you an idea of how prevelant such is, a well to do doctor is able to afford at least basic levels of such a treatment with no problem.
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Post by Stormbringer » 2006-12-06 09:40pm

Sorry for the multiple posts, I'm responding as I read.
Page 146 - 147: Evidently most PDF regiments (or perhaps merely on Gravalax, I am unsure whether or not this is atypical or common) according to Cain do not have Commisars in their regiments, or at least not in the manner they are present in the Guard (IE fewer in number and removed from the regimental level.)
Necropolis touchs upon a similar subject via an Imperial Commisar sent as a Guard liason with the local PDFs. Commisariat trained commisars are typically quite rare in a PDF, an entire Hive City's military may have only one. To the IG commisars, it's considered punishment duty to be sent to such a position unless there is an active warzone.

Backing them up are of course plenty of locally trained commisar's. The number of them varies, naturally, from world to world. However the evidence is that they come close to being equal in number to their Imperial Guard counterparts. It's likely that Cain simply doesn't pay them much heed given his low opinion of PDF forces or it may be a symptom Gravalax's laxity (and Tau subversion) that they employ less commisars in their PDF.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain: For the Emperor - technical analysis thre

Post by Setzer » 2006-12-06 10:26pm

Connor MacLeod wrote: Page 146 - 147: Evidently most PDF regiments (or perhaps merely on Gravalax, I am unsure whether or not this is atypical or common) according to Cain do not have Commisars in their regiments, or at least not in the manner they are present in the Guard (IE fewer in number and removed from the regimental level.)
In the Gaunt's Ghosts book Necropolis, they mention an organization called the Vervun Primary Hive Commisariat. Its commander is a commissar who was formerly attached to IG regiments. The fact that Dan Abnett took time out to give a description would imply the average PDF soldier would never see a commisar, unless his unit was fighting alongside an IG regiment.
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Post by Lord Zentei » 2006-12-06 11:57pm

Nice summary; I have yet to pick up that book. One point:
Connor MacLeod wrote:<snippa> where Cadiran regimens have 4,000 troops <snippa>
If you are referring to the picture of the Cadian 8th on pages 10-11 of the current Imperial Guard codex, that's half the regiment, not all of it:
Codex: Imperial Guard wrote:Shown here are twelve companies (almost 4000 men) of the 8th Cadian Shock Troop regiment on parade at their Kasr Rorzann castellum. Roughly half of the regiment is present.
That would imply 8000 men or so for the Cadian 8th.
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Post by Stormbringer » 2006-12-07 12:15pm

Lord Zentei wrote:Nice summary; I have yet to pick up that book. One point:
Connor MacLeod wrote:<snippa> where Cadiran regimens have 4,000 troops <snippa>
If you are referring to the picture of the Cadian 8th on pages 10-11 of the current Imperial Guard codex, that's half the regiment, not all of it:
Codex: Imperial Guard wrote:Shown here are twelve companies (almost 4000 men) of the 8th Cadian Shock Troop regiment on parade at their Kasr Rorzann castellum. Roughly half of the regiment is present.
That would imply 8000 men or so for the Cadian 8th.
Guard Regiments typically tend to be based on the worlds overall population and the number of regiments raised. It's not suprising that a fortress world like Cadia raises largely regiments than Vahalla which is thinly populated at best.
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Post by NecronLord » 2006-12-07 12:57pm

Altered a few formattings here and there in previous posts to make them more legible.
Connor MacLeod wrote:Page: 129 - By Cain's estimation, Tau "nullgrav" technology (and by extension, Eldar and what passes for imperium nullgrav tech) evidently relies on ducted air-fans/jet engines for propulsion - the repulsors simply provide a lifting force..Cain evidently is also quite familiar with the basic concepts of the technology, which suggests that while rare, it is not considered a really "exotic" or unheard of technology (at least amongst space-traveling types.)
This is indeed accurate. The vast majority of instances we've seen require external force, generally generated by turbines. Those that don't probably simply don't have them explicitly shown or use lower power systems.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain: For the Emperor - technical analysis thre

Post by Lancer » 2006-12-07 05:36pm

Setzer wrote:
Connor MacLeod wrote: Page 146 - 147: Evidently most PDF regiments (or perhaps merely on Gravalax, I am unsure whether or not this is atypical or common) according to Cain do not have Commisars in their regiments, or at least not in the manner they are present in the Guard (IE fewer in number and removed from the regimental level.)
In the Gaunt's Ghosts book Necropolis, they mention an organization called the Vervun Primary Hive Commisariat. Its commander is a commissar who was formerly attached to IG regiments. The fact that Dan Abnett took time out to give a description would imply the average PDF soldier would never see a commisar, unless his unit was fighting alongside an IG regiment.
That's further backed up by "Death or Glory", which also elaborates on how Commisars are attatched to subsector PDF forces.

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Post by Steel » 2006-12-07 05:52pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 21 - Cain mentions having reached his "second century", so he is at least 200 years old.
I take that to mean at least 100 years old, as in your second year in a job starts on the 366th day of working there

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Post by NRS Guardian » 2006-12-07 09:50pm

Steel wrote:
Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 21 - Cain mentions having reached his "second century", so he is at least 200 years old.
I take that to mean at least 100 years old, as in your second year in a job starts on the 366th day of working there
Yes, but when someone says they've reached their first century it implies that they are at least 100 years old, so it's possible that it means he is at least 200.
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-13 06:54pm

Vendetta wrote: It's hard to think what cobalt would be doing in anything's blood, it doesn't react particularly strongly with most gases, so wouldn't be great in a transport protein. I don't believe that Tau breathe any particularly funky gases (the only gas that makes cobalt go blue in compound is chlorine). Hemocyanin instead of Hemoglobin would produce a blue colour, but it's not as efficient an oxygen carrier, and so is less likely in a larger lifeform.
hm,. oh well. I guess we can chalk this up to "The Imperium's "techpriests" made a booboo." :P

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-13 06:54pm

Lord Zentei wrote:If you are referring to the picture of the Cadian 8th on pages 10-11 of the current Imperial Guard codex, that's half the regiment, not all of it:
Codex: Imperial Guard wrote:Shown here are twelve companies (almost 4000 men) of the 8th Cadian Shock Troop regiment on parade at their Kasr Rorzann castellum. Roughly half of the regiment is present.
That would imply 8000 men or so for the Cadian 8th.
I was, thanks for the clarification. I edited it to reflect that.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-13 06:56pm

Part 2 - this contains some of the best and IMHO most interesting calcy related stuff, especially the hellgun.

Page 153: Cain notices a sort of "fast moving platter with a rifle slung under it" - presumably one of the "gun" drones mentioned in the Tau Codex.

Page 154 - first introduction to tau battlesuits, mistaken for (or compared to) Space Marine dreadnnaughts by Kasteen and Cain (in terms of size at least.. firepower not known.)


Page 169:
He touched a control stud on the arms of his chair, and the surface of the table lit up from within, proving to be a hololithic display of a size and resolution I'd seldom seen before. If I'd realised, I'd have been a bit more careful with the teapot. I wiped the ring of beverage away with my handkerchief as the image flickered drunkenly in the air before me, finally steadying into decipherability as Zyvan leaned foward and banged the tabletop hard with a clenched fist. He must have spent considerable time with the techpriests, because it functioned perfectly after that, staying sharp and in focus more than half the time.
The first of the infamous "whacking something to get it to work" scenes mentioned some time ago in one of the 40K threads I believe. It becomes something of a recurring gag throughout the series, I might add.

Page 175 - Lord General Zyvan's hololith (Cain calls it a "conference suite") can be used to (as Cain put it) "Co-ordinate the input of more than one regiment"

Page 177 - Cain notes that many Imperial Guardsman as a rule tend to hold PDF regiments in contempt ("amateurs", as the officer Cain is commenting on specifically puts it.) although he does not say whether in general that this is justified. He does note, howver, that he had come across "a few" PDF regiments who could come close to a Guard regiment, though he doesn't give specific names. (An obvious in-universe example, though, would probably be the Cadians.)

Page 180 - one of the notations here indicates that while rare, it was not unheard of for a commissar to be given command of military forces in combat. In particular, it is noted that at least one commissar was given command of a regiment for two years, although said commissar was given the "dual rank" of colonel for paperwork purposes. (Obviously a reference to Gaunt's Ghosts.)

Page 181 - Chimaera treads would be "shredded' by the debris in an urban setting, at least after heavy artillery bombardment and prolonged rioting, although Sentinels can still cover the terrain and offer "heavy fire support". The Chimaeras heavy bolters, though, were considered capable of providing covering fire to the regiments. Cain also notes that bringing in a couple "Leman Russes" would not have dramatically altered the situation agianst dug in infantry in a cityfight (at least not after the artillery was finished.)

Page 182 - Cain notes here he is "well into his second century", which suggests (despite what i said before) that he's less than 200 years old (but probably around 150 years or so), but the implication is that while he might be fairly "old", he is nowhere near close to dying (he may have decades yet, easily.)

Page 191-192 - Cain again mentions that lasguns cauterize the wounds they inflict, and that this means that anyone (human, at least) will normally not bleed to death, even from glancing hits. Anyn blood, therefore, likely comes from whatever flesh/tissue is blown out of the wound, or the blood is minimal. Of course, as I noted, this might vary depending on the pattern of lasgun or the settings (if they have settings), but most Valhallan lasguns (as those of regiments Cain has come into contact with) evidently do cause major cauterization.

Page 193 - notation here indicates that most of the Gravalax PDF forces were not equipped with personal combeads, unlike the Guard Regiments Cain was used to serving with, which the notation helps to explain the lack of coordination between Gravalaxian PDF forces. Of further interest, the notation also mentions that said units were out of "line of sight" without combeads, implying that such devices do not REQUIRE line of sight for communication (although as we learn later, there are limits on range depending on various factors.) This may also mean that combeads may also rely on relays or satellites to "bounce" comm transmissions off of in some cases (later evidence does tend to lend credence to this idea.) The notation also admits that in general, PDF regiments are not as well trained as Guard regiments, but that the difference may not be as extreme as the Gravalax situation suggests.

Page 194 -
The distinctive crack of lasgun fire continued to echo through the roads around it, and as our field of vision widened, I could see the sparks of muzzle flashes inside the building, and puffs of vaporising rockcrete where other bolts were impacting around the upper windows.
- lasguns can "vaporize" rockcrete, although the quantity isn't exactly specified (though this might imply MJ range outputs, given the energgy input needed to vaporize 1 kg of silicon.. around 13.3 MJ)

Page 195 - Vehicle (in this case salamander) mounted flamers are capable of incinerating individuals. This indicates the capability to deliver hundreds of megajoules over a shorrt period of times (seconds likely at most.) Curiously, a puddle of burning promethium merely leaves a "blackened" patch of rockrete (as opposed to molten, which the cremation-level energies would imply. giving us an indirect idea of how strong the stuff is. Remember that lasguns were vaporising rockcrete...)

Page 221 - Zyvan's hololith is thumped again, repeating what is to become something of a running gag (I think) throughout several of the Cain novels.

Page 228 - Imperial cities are "Milennia old", and succeeding generations of humans build their constructs on top of the old ones, creating networks of service tunnesl and abandoned rooms that can extend downwards for tens or hundreds of meters. This is also useful to know, with regards to

Page 243 - Mention of "Carapace vests" - carapace armor, but from what I gather its mostly torso protection (partial set rather than the full set stormtrroopers and the like use, I would gather.)

Page 244

"Hellguns. Shady! Velade hefted her new weapon, looking incongruously like a juvie on Emperor's day morning. As a regular line trooper, he was only used to handling a standard-issue lasgun, the more powerful variant normally being reserved for storm-troopers and other special forces.[/quote]

- confirms that hellguns are "more powerful" than lasguns, and notes that there are other forces that use them (presumably like veteran or elite Guard troopers, Inquisitor's guards, etc.)

Page 244 - self same hellguns evidently run on power cells, ,rather than a backpack generator as some sources (Imperial Guard codex, 4th Edition rules, etc.) imply. One would guess this is less bulky, but allows for fewer shots more limited sustained-fire than normal. (This might also suggest that a Hellgun is more like a SAW or machine gun in role, as opposed to the more "assault rifle" type lasgun. The backpack generator for the hellgun being equivalent to a "ammo belt feed".)

Cain is advised to go with a hellpistol instead of his laspistol, but declines on the grounds that the different "weight and feel" between the weapons would interfere with his aim. This evidently implies that the difference in firepower between a hellgun and a lasgun, while different, are not dramatically so (IE not more than an order of magnitude.)
I'd grabbed a set of the body armour, though, and wore it now, concealed beneath my uniform greatcoat. It felt a little heavy and uncomforrtable, but a lot less so than taking a las-bolt to the chest.
- Cain is convincecd that his carapace vest would be able to stop a lasbolt to the chest (at least one.)

Page 245 - the Valhallans use long-las sharpshooters much like the Tanith First & Only. Likewise, the sharpshooter/snipers evidently rely on personally-customised long-las rifles. The particular one mentioned here has a targeter attached.

Page 248 - Cain uses a commlink-oriented analogy here - "wavelength" and "jamming" (which also reminds him of comms) which indirectly tells us that aforementioned concepts of electronic warfare DO exist, but are either inconsistent or fairly limited in most cases (then again, they might be very adept at communications jamming but less so at sensor jamming, though the two technologies arguably should be similar.)

Page 249 - again Cain uses his comm bead to give a subvocalised transmission, this time to the Inquisitor.

Page 252 - the tau "flying platter" drones and battlesuits make another appearance.

[quotes]
The driver's volley of profanity was drowned out by a sudden thunderclap of displaced air as something hit the front of an omnibus right where we'd been a moment before, reducing its entire nose to metallic confetti before raking the length of it, blowing a tangled mass of wreckage blood and bone out the back.[/quote]

- example of the destructive capability of tau railguns. Hard to quantify, but coring a large bus like that (as well as pulverizing its occupants, presumably dozens of humans) probably would be many times the destructive power of a heavy anti-material rifle.. Possibly comparable to a 20mm-30mm cannon.

Page 252 - Cain is astonished by the 'range and accuracy' of tau railguns. Earlier he assumed they were a hard target at their current distance, but was naturally cautious. The implication being that the tau "dreadnoughts" probably are either longer ranged or have better fire control than an Imperium Dreadnought.

Page 253 - according to the Inquisitor, the Tau railgun would have "easily damaged" the Chimaera - more specifically it would have "gutted them like a fish." (much as it had just gutted a bus and its load of passengers.)

- this implies that the railgun could have penetrated and presumably destroyed a chimaera. While a chimaera has less armor than a standard Leman Russ tank, the difference is not substantial. It also implies fairly staggering firepower on the part of the Tau, given we know that battle tanks can be knocked around in various directions without having their armor penetrated (although the actual mechanism of "damage", ie momentum, kinetic energy, or both, is not specified. Sincec the Tau use railguns, penetration may be due as much to extreme KE as much to high momentum.)

Page 262

[quiote]
In his hands was the unmistakable bulk of a meltagun, a heavy thermal weapon normally used to give tanks a hard time in close terrain, which was about the only time you stood a chance of getting near enough to use one without being spread across the landscape. Emperor alone knew where he'd got it from, but it was a reassuring sight nonetheless.[/quote]

Evidently tank mounted weaponry greatly outrange a bolter and can mow down anyone attempting to get close enough to use one before the melta-operator can fire. Note that Cain says giive a "hard time" to, but not destroy. As we see in later novels, meltas DO damage tanks, but not severely so.

Page 262 - Jurgen implies that a meltagun makes a decent weapon for clearing paths in tunnel fighting (implying a vey large area of effect, which we will see later on.)

Page 263 - The Inquisitor has brought along an auspex, which demonstrates the ability to detect obscured/buried underground passages (in this cae a maintenance hatch/access panel buried under rubble.) - this implies some form of "active" sensing mode to the device (rader or sonar or something I suppose.)

Page 264
Kelp nodded, grgasped the handle, and pulled, every one of his overdeveloped muscles standing out as he strained against it. After a moment he gasped ant let go.
"We'll need a demo charge to shift that.
- This estimates that a 5 round volley from 2 hellguns can compare to a demo chargge in terms of damage (although that might be conservative.)

Page 264 - Jurgen offers to use the meltagun to remove the hatch, which causes everyone to panic because it might do too much damage (IE bring the whole building down.)
"Velade, Holenbi, front and centre. Five rounds rapid." The twisted metal flashed into vapour under the combined power of the hellgun volley, and I clapped Jurgen on the back encouragingly.

....

I aimed my trusty pistol at it [the hole that was in the ground at their feet], but it was a pointless precaution; anyone waiting in ambush would have been vaporised along with the inspection panel, and anyone outside the hellgun' area of effect would have een shooting back by now.
- 10 hellgun shots (5 per gun) can vaporize a metal cover of unknown mass as well as at least one person beyond it. Disregarding the cover, vaporizing a human requires at least ~100-150 MJ, which means 10-15 MJ per shot, and this is VERY conservative.

Note, while we don't know the mass of the cover, ,we can guess at its dimensions. It has to be at least around half a meter in diameter (people can climb down it) and a half centimeter thickness (5mm) seems a very conservative estimate. Assuming a density of iron, the cover might be around 7 kg (at least), which would add at least anohter 50-60 MJ to the estimate, or another 5-6 MJ per shot. This is still conservative, as the fact that Kelp could not budge the cover may imply it masses several tens of kilos at least - the calc could be 2,3 even 5 times grater than my consevative estimate. And if there are several people there, the calc could easily extend into hundreds of megajoules.

Additionally, this quote does imply the rate of fire on a hellgun is at least 5 shots a second (per "volley")

Page 269 - under "metres" of masonry and rockcrete as well as a substantial distance (kilometers?) away from base/Kasteen, attenuated the comm bead signal so that Cain was receiving static.

Page 274 - Cain notices the body of a "stocky fellow" who has most of his chest missing from enemy weapons fire. (Relevant for a weapons calc described later.)

Page 275
"I'm still trying to work out what killed the others," I said. The wounds were too heavy for lasguns, even the hellguns we carried. I'd heard them being fired though, I was sure about that.
In cain's estimation, a lasgun/hellgun could not create a wound sufficient to remove "most of the chest" of a stocky fellow. If we assume "most" means 2/3 of the chest this could mean affecting around 30-36 kg of flesh (assuming a very stocky individual.) and assume vaporization of the water content we could infer around 60-65 MJ (IF we assume creamation of the other 30% - 38-39 additional megajoules) This probably means that a hellgun (and hence a lasgun) cannot have much more than 60-100 MJ of energy. However, this isn't specific as to whether it is "per shot" or "full auto", and it is not specific as to whether all shots hit or not. And it may not include full cremation (though cauterization probably wouldn't be very far off.) Note that comparatively speaking, a lasgun is probably at least several times less powerful than a hellgun.

Page 275-276
It looks like plasma rounds to me," Jurgen volunteered. The toubt in his voice told me how unlikely he thought it, though; plasma weapons were big, bulky, and unreliable, and took an age to recharge between shots. You'd have to be mad to arm and enitre squad with them. Not to mention being rarer than an ork with a sense of humor. "Plasma pistols, maybe?"

"Maybe," I conceded. Those were even rarer, but suppose someone had found a whole cache of them from the fabled Dark Age of Technology?
- Jurgen identifies the weapon as a "plasma" weapon revmoing most of the chest of the guy above. Note that this probably means that the quote should be interpreted as a "per shot" estimate, but it also probably means that the lasgun/hellgun shots would probably not do much, if any, cremation (cauterization is likely, of course.)

Generally speaking, this probably places a Hellgun's "per shot" upper limit as around 60-70 MJ per "shot", with a lasgun being 2-4 times les powerful (15-20 MJ per shot, presumably.)

Page 276 - 277: The Inquisitor's Auspex is also designed for picking up life signs, although it was calibrated purely for human, not alien or abhuman lifesigns.

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Post by Stormbringer » 2006-12-13 07:19pm

Page 180 - one of the notations here indicates that while rare, it was not unheard of for a commissar to be given command of military forces in combat. In particular, it is noted that at least one commissar was given command of a regiment for two years, although said commissar was given the "dual rank" of colonel for paperwork purposes. (Obviously a reference to Gaunt's Ghosts.)
It's probably not Guant as he was in command of the Ghosts for somewhere between five and eight years. At best it's an out of universe reference.
Page 182 - Cain notes here he is "well into his second century", which suggests (despite what i said before) that he's less than 200 years old (but probably around 150 years or so), but the implication is that while he might be fairly "old", he is nowhere near close to dying (he may have decades yet, easily.)
Again, to judge by Eisenhorn routinely available treatments can easily extend human life up to five centuries or more with out radical treatment.
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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2006-12-13 09:24pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 275-276
It looks like plasma rounds to me," Jurgen volunteered. The toubt in his voice told me how unlikely he thought it, though; plasma weapons were big, bulky, and unreliable, and took an age to recharge between shots. You'd have to be mad to arm and enitre squad with them. Not to mention being rarer than an ork with a sense of humor. "Plasma pistols, maybe?"

"Maybe," I conceded. Those were even rarer, but suppose someone had found a whole cache of them from the fabled Dark Age of Technology?
- Jurgen identifies the weapon as a "plasma" weapon revmoing most of the chest of the guy above. Note that this probably means that the quote should be interpreted as a "per shot" estimate, but it also probably means that the lasgun/hellgun shots would probably not do much, if any, cremation (cauterization is likely, of course.)

Generally speaking, this probably places a Hellgun's "per shot" upper limit as around 60-70 MJ per "shot", with a lasgun being 2-4 times les powerful (15-20 MJ per shot, presumably.)
These are the effects of Tau rifles, right? I noticed a couple of interesting things. I was aware that plasma guns are bulkier than plasma pistols, but I figured it was the difference between a handgun and a carabine. However, based on this quote, it seems that a plasma gun is bulky because it is considerably less sophisticated than a plasma pistol. Note that a good plasma weapon will cremate a person almost entirely, the entirety of the remains would probably fit in a shoe box.

The other thing I noticed, "an Ork with a sense of humour" is said to be rare. It's somewhat amusing, because Orks do have senses of humour, it's just that they're usually too busy fighting the humies (and everyone else) to actually share it.

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Post by 18-Till-I-Die » 2006-12-13 10:29pm

Adrian Laguna wrote:The other thing I noticed, "an Ork with a sense of humour" is said to be rare. It's somewhat amusing, because Orks do have senses of humour, it's just that they're usually too busy fighting the humies (and everyone else) to actually share it.
An Ork's sense of humor is probably something like this:

Some Ork Guy: "Knock, knock."
Some Other Guy: "Who's there?"
Some Ork Guy: *crushes your skull* "YOU DIE! Hahahaha! Lolz!"


Interestingly, a Lasgun output of about 15 mj is close, very close, to what they say it actually is, about 13 mj...or "megathules" as they call them.
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-14 12:40am

Adrian Laguna wrote: These are the effects of Tau rifles, right? I noticed a couple of interesting things.
WEll yeah, they're Tau plasma weapons (plasma and pulse rifles I imagine, since the pulse rifles have a plasma element as well) and there were some Kroot rifles (which use some sort of plasma/pulse charge to them as well.) But I'm assuming that they mean "plasma" when they say it.
I was aware that plasma guns are bulkier than plasma pistols, but I figured it was the difference between a handgun and a carabine. However, based on this quote, it seems that a plasma gun is bulky because it is considerably less sophisticated than a plasma pistol.
Perhaps, though the quote is referring to "plasma weapons" as a whole, not plasma guns (so that includes plasma pistols.) What he may mean is that plasma pistols, being smaller and probably less powerful, probably are more reliable and less prone to catastrophic failure. It should be noted that according to the Tau codex, their plasma weapons ARE less destrtuctive than their Imperial counterparts, but this also makes them more reliable (which would fit with what Jurgen was saying here.)
Note that a good plasma weapon will cremate a person almost entirely, the entirety of the remains would probably fit in a shoe box.
Depending on the weapon or setting (or target)

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-14 12:40am

18-Till-I-Die wrote: Interestingly, a Lasgun output of about 15 mj is close, very close, to what they say it actually is, about 13 mj...or "megathules" as they call them.
yes, but in this context its more of an upper limit and an approximation on my part, not a concrete figure.

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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2006-12-14 05:00pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:
Note that a good plasma weapon will cremate a person almost entirely, the entirety of the remains would probably fit in a shoe box.
Depending on the weapon or setting (or target)
Yes, I did specify a "good" plasma weapon, the setting would obviously be highest power, ann by "person" I mean an average person in normal clothes. You shoot a Space Marine and he'll be wounded badly, but not necessarily enough to keep him from shoving that plasma gun up your ass.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2006-12-18 04:44am

A shortt update, I am a bit tired, but I am hoping to finish this before Christmas (Caves of Ice is going to be another big one, despite being a short novel.)

Page 286:
These were plasma weapons we were facing, ,and even the heavy body armour we were wearing would be all but useless against it
- Cain believes that the carapace armor he and his troops are wearing would be completely ineffective against Tau pulse/plasma weaponry. Given before that he believed it could stop a las-bolt (and later on, implying it could even stop a hellgun bolt0 we again see evidence that the tau weaponry is more powerful than Imperium las weaponry.

- Incidentally, the prior calc for the plasma bolt may suggest an upper-limit resilience of around 50-100 or so megajoules (maybe give or take a few tens of MJ).
A bolt of incandescent energy burst against the metal piping close to my head, just missing my face with a spray of molten metal. If profanity was a weapon our assailants would all have
been dead in seconds at that point, believe me. Stray pieces of debris ignited from similar accidents, suffusing the chamber with a flickering orange glow that only intensified my sense of disorientation.
The plasma weapons (pulse carbines, ,if I remmber pathfinder armament correctly) can melt a substantial but unquantified amount of metal from a pipe. Given cain was evidedntly using said pipe for Cover, we may infer it was fairly large and perhaps fairly thick. Interestingly, unless this is a kroot pulse projectile, the tau must have been using reduced settings when firing on Cain, given that even 50 MJ or so would introduce substantial melting in an iron pipe (to say nothing of outright vaporization, and Cain seems to be ab it too close to the pipe for his unarmoured face to endure vaporized metal.)


Page 290 - tau troopers described as wearing "hardshell body armour" (carapace?) as well as "visored helmets" that had ocular lenses, implying fully-contained body armour. The Kroot, on the other hand, are completely unarmoured.

Page 293 - the "hard-shelled" and visored helmeneted figures are described as "pathfinders" - the Tau equivalent of Imperial Guard storm-troopers (Recon specialists and forward observers.)

Page 295
"Makes sense," I agreed. "I'd rather have those plasma guns on our side than shooting at us." Now I came to look at one close up they were surprisingly compact, no larger than a lasgun, but the amount of firepower they could put out wasn't to be sniffed at.
- Cain refers to teh pathfinder weapons as "plasma" guns, somewhat erroneously. While somewhat true (related to plasma weaponry) they are more o fa hybrid or offshoot technology. Pathfinders, according to the Codex, carry plasma carbines, smaller and more compact versions of the full pulse rifle. This implies two things: 1.) since Pulse carbines are comparable in size to a lasgun, the full pulse rifle is arguably much larger, and b.) it is also more powerful. Cain again confirms the notion that tau small arms pack consideerable firepower, arguably more than a standard lasgun (though a plasma or hellgun probably comes close.)

Page 296
We were making better time now though, the tau appearing to have some way of seeing in the dark. They certainly had no visible luminators, so I assumed the lenses on the front of their helmets enabled them to see in some way I couldn't quite comprehend.
The pathfinders evidently carry the tau "blacksun filters" as parrt of their standard gear. i cannot find anything to define what comprises said filters, although they may be infrared (or otherwise.)

It may seem like Cain's statements here indicate he is not familiar with infrared or other types of possible detection technology, but this is questionable, ,given amberley's auspex, the fact he reasoned out the p urpose of the ocular eyepieces, and the fact we know from the Wargear book and the 3rd edition codex that infrared goggles and sights are considered part and parcel of Guard equipment.

Page 306 - Tau "flying plates" that evidently serve the function of "aerial pictcasters" - or mobile realtime cameras.

Page 307 - Cain considered the sensor gear in the Pathfinder helments to be better than Amberley's auspex (however, this is based solely on its prior performance, I would guess. Whether or not it actually is better in some ways if not all, is a matter for debate, though the evidence seems to imply that)

Page 310 - the Tau have communications gear as well as sensors in their helmets, but curiously, the Kroot are not provided with any sort of communications gear of their own. Instead, they rely on some sort of somatic "hand gesture" signalling to convey information. Cain notes that this is similar in purpose to what Guard regiments without individual combeads did, or in situations where a comm transmission could be detected. (Stormtroopers do it as well.)

In the Tau's case, this seems a rather peculiar weakness in their military structure if they do not fully intergrate their allies (like the kroot) into their own command and control networks like that.

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Post by Stormbringer » 2006-12-18 02:51pm

In the Tau's case, this seems a rather peculiar weakness in their military structure if they do not fully intergrate their allies (like the kroot) into their own command and control networks like that.
It is a weakness but there are two factors which drive it. First and foremost, the Kroot are not fully loyal. While most exist as a servant species of the racial Tau, there are significant clans and individual bands that are freelance. They do not have any loyalty to the Tau and come and go as they please. To that extent, they may even fight Tau at times. As such they may cross battlelines and the Tau are wary of providing them with superior gear. Kill Team as well as the Kroot Mercenaries article expand on this in more detail.

There is also the simple fact that the Kroot are considered expendables. They and the other servant races of the racial Tau are cannon fodder, useful cannon fodder to be sure, but ultimately to be used and used up. To that extent a few extra casualties among the Kroot are irrelevant so long as technical security is maintained.
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Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2006-12-18 03:13pm

Hrm. Did the Guard kick the Tau's ass in this one? I hear so little of the Imperial Guard schooling the Tau.
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Post by Stormbringer » 2006-12-18 03:20pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Hrm. Did the Guard kick the Tau's ass in this one? I hear so little of the Imperial Guard schooling the Tau.
Cain's Valhallans held their own against the Tau. But with out spoiling it, there are other things going on besides Tau vs Guard.

Now if you want Guard schooling Tau, pick up Kill Team.
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