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Connor MacLeod
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Fifteen hours: tech analysis and discussion page

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-01-05 04:27am

I picked up this book because I had a hint that it might contain some interesting IG-related material. Not a huge amount calcable, but I did pick up a few interesting tidbits nonetheless. On whole, the book has proven much different than Rennie's work, the ciaphas cain novels, or the Gaunt's Ghosts books (I receently completed First and Only, but I read 15 hours before that.) Not bad, per se, it had some surprises, but the book has a great deal of negative opinion towards the highe rechelons of the Imperial Guard, and other factions (Adeptus Mechanicus, Administratum, etc.). Indeed, it seems to emphasize that a great deal of competence and ability tends to lie with the sharp end of the stick. It also makes fun of the propoganda and indoctrination fundamentally inherent in the guard through a contrast between the "newly trained" regimental troops and the veterans. All in all? not bad, not great, and some interesting technical tidbits.

On to the book:

Page 8
He had been hit at the base of the spine, the bullet leaving a fist-sized hole at the front of his stomach as it exited his body. Treating his wounds to the best of his medical knowledeg, he placed dressings over them. Though there were phials of morphia in his Guard-issue med-pack and he had learned the "Prayer of Relief from Torment" by heart, he had no need for them.
- Though it isn't stated now, later on we learn this wound was crated by a weapon fired from the Ork side of the engagement (I'd guess an ork stubber or autogun equivalentl.) For an idea of wound diameter compare to some of the examples here. Of parrticular comparison the twelve gauge shotgun with #4 buckshot, the .303 Winchester 150 grain, the 30-30 Winchester 170 grain, 5.56x45mm from an M16A2) and a 5.56x45mm from an M16A1, and a .223 Remington 50 grain However, note that unlike most of those, the exit wound remains quite large as well (and large for that depth too it would seem.)
Its also worth noting that this would be the damage AFTER the body armor has slowed the bullet both going in AND out (whereas the examples I provided are for a basically unarmored target.)

The only other worthwhile bit of information one could possibly derive from this is a potential lasgun calc. According to the Wargear and "battle manuals" for 40K, the effects of a lasgun on a target are "similar to a bullet or small shell", which may qualify in these examples. (As well as others, such as the naval shotgun blast that blew a person's head off in Execution Hour.) We could, therefore, conclude that a lasgun blast would be able to put a fist-sized hole through a target in this manner (through armor, as well.) To heat up the body mass of a fist-sized volume (to a depth enough to affect major organs - 15-20 cm.. a mass of about 1.2-1.5 kg) to the boiling point of water (which should be enough to induce at least parrtial vaporization as well as cauterization, effects consistent with what is described in the Imperial Infantryman's uplifting primer) requires about 200-300 kilojoules minimum. Including total vaporization, the figure would go to around 2.5-4 megajoules per shot.

Page 12-13

- on these pages we see the protagonist attempting to repair an irrigation pump on his farm (or rather, replace the burnt-out component.). Despite the adherence to the whole "techno-religious" nonsense perpetuated by the A-M, the character itself seems to actually have some understanding of the operations of the mechanism (how to install it, what to check for, etc.) I only felt it worthwhile to note this because it suggests that on at least some planets, the Adeptus Mechanicus do not strictly regulate their "techno-religion" (although there are always examples of this, such as in "Death and Glory".)

Page 22

- the protagonist is told the story of his great-grandfather, and the sights he saw. Among them are Hive cities (places where "billions of people lived right on top of each other like insects in giant towers" and "great walking machines" that were so large the farm he lived on would fit in one of their footsteps.

Page 23

- This regiment (if not others) is said to have held a lottery to "retire" lucky members and allow them to remain on their current world, as a means of celebrating Emperor's day and the thirtieth year of their founding.

Page 34

- according to the hero, he had been trained on-planet for "two months".

Page 35

- the Regiments being drafted on this planet (Jumael IV) evidently are composed of two thousand troopers each.

Page 36

- the Squads in the Jumael regiments are divided into five-man fire teams just like the Valhallan regiments in the Ciaphas Cain novels.

Page 40

- The protagonist (whom I'll call Larn from this point on, since that's his last name) has spent 4 weeks on a troop ship, after another month on-planet prior to deployment after the previously mentioned two months of training (suggesting a total of about four months of training.) As we learn on the next page, all of that time IS spent training, even onboard the troop ship.

Page 42

- in addition to training, the light-cycle in the part of the ship inhabited by Larn's regiment(s) has been adjusted to match that of the day/night cycle of the planet they will be dispatched to. (Presumably, they could do this with other conditions as well, such as gravity) to facilitate acclimatisation to said planet (although it, in addition to warp sickness, screws greatly with the troopers themselves.

Page 43

- the Jumael regiments are evidently being dispatched to deal with rebellion and uprising in the PDF of another world, which implies city-fighting (and explains the "fire-teams" arrangement as well.)

Page 49

- Administratum employees work seven days a week, twelve hours a day. He has two fifteen minute break periods, half an hour for lunch (midday meal) and a single unpaid holiday on "Emperor's Day" He also happens to make a transposition error in the information he is typing that leads to a single company of Jumael troopers.being dropped off on the wrong planet. However, it does hint at fairly rapid coordination and dissemination of information between the planet and the troop ship (the timeframe isn't specified, but seems fairly short - hours by the book at least.) The captain asks for confirmation of the orders, and again receives them in fairly short order (again hours or less implied.) and the method of communication is astrropath.

Page 51

- some troop transports (at least this model) incorporate the same optical-magnification technologies inside the view ports that we saw in Execution Hour and Shadow Point.

Page 52

- the troopship Inevitable Victory was traveling to the aforementioned rebelling planet with thirty more troopships (And presumably, escorts.) indicative of the scale of this conflict.

Page 57

- Larn thinks that the troop lander he is boarding could hold "at least" a couple thousand men, as well as vehicles and artillery, suggesting the ability to at least carry whole regiments. Additionally, the Victory Has twenty such landers. Implying at least a troop capacity of 40,000, in addition to armor and equipment. If the other thirty transports are similar in carrying capacity (possible but unverified) they could be carrying as many as 1.2 million troops - a substantial number.

Page 58

- again Larn comments that the transport is meant to carry "two thousand men" at a minimum, implying that the statement above was not just pure guesstimate or hyperbole.
Last edited by Connor MacLeod on 2007-01-10 03:53am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-01-10 03:51am

Page 62
"Warning! Warning!" the servitor interrupted, the whirring of its mechanisms reaching an abrupt crescendo as it burst into life. "Registering hostile missile launch from ground-based battery. REcommend evasive manoeuvres. Missile trajectory eight seven degrees zero three minutes, airspeed six hundred knots. Warning! Registering second missile launch. Missile trajectory-"
Ork ground batteries fire a missile up at the shuttle just shortly after entering the atmosphere, suggesting a range of several tens of kilometers (maybe up to a hundred or a huhndred and fifty.) the velocity is only six hundred knots (intiially?) but its probably still accelerating, and shortly after the servitor is ordered to shut up. The missiles probably went supersonic or hypersonic at some point (they reached the target in seconds, at 20 km a 300 m/s rocket would take over a minute to reach the drop ship.) I believe that an ICBM, for example, would be moving at hypersonic speeds to reach that height.

Page 62-63
"Servitor: belay hostile trajectories and airspeeds until further orders. Zil, deploy chaff!"

"Chaff activated. Instruments reading chaff successfully deployed." Zil said, his voice growing suddenly hoarse as he looked at one of the screens before him. "Wait,. The chaff, its not done any good. It's as though... Holy Emperor! None of the hostile missiles have guidance systems!"
- Here, the shuttle deploys countermeasures (chaff) to confuse the presumed guidance systems on the sensors (Even though there is none.) This does indicate they are used to grgound-based missile fire from other factions (who hae detection or guidance with the missiles, probably akin to something like a Manticore, although I'd bet there are other heavier missile platforms as well that match Ork performance.) The use of chaff instead of flares also hints at radar-guided missiles, rather than heat seeking (though heat seeking in this case would probably work also.)

Page 63:

- The orks launched a thousand missiles from their ground batteries at the shuttle, with "hundreds more" launched each second. This indicates the potential scale of Ork artillery or ground fire, at least missile based (thousands of artillery pieces and millions of troops.)

Page 64

- from the violent manuvers being suffered here, the shuttle evidently has minimal if any inertial damping - which means that some of the troopers die from broken necks and the like on the way down due to being improperly secured during the rough evasive manuvers.

Page 70

- theres a "ten metre tall imperial eagle" on the side of the transport, meaning its probably at least 10 metres tall (probably more like 15 or 20 at least, if it can carry vehicles.)

Additionally, the shuttle has come down about 700-800 metres away from Imperial lines. As we learn later, the ork lines are roughly a kilometre away, so at this point the shuttle is about 200-300 meters or so from the Ork lines.

Page 72

- the orks evidently keep firing on Larn until he is about ~100 metres away from the Imperial encampment (or a bit before that.) He raced to a nearby trench for safety with bullets still "chewing up the ground" around him. This implies the ork projectile weaponry can hit a target at least 600-700 meters away. Factoring in the previous estimate before, the effective range of Ork weaponry is about 800-900 meters, unless they chased after the troopers (not likely, since they didn't charge until shortly after Larn arrived.)

By contrast, and confirmed by the later evidence, lasguns are probably at LEAST as long ranged, and probably a bit longer (due to the twin facts that orks are lousy shots and that lasbeams are immune to many of the factors that affect bullet accuracy.)

Page 78

- the planet, Broucheroc, hosts "ten million orks' trying to overrun the Imperial planet.

Page 79

- the ork lines are approximately a kilometre away from Larn and his saviours poisition (which is roughly 100 meters or so from the main fortifications.)

Page 80
"Don't bother, new fish." Repzik said, laying a hand across his barrel. "Even if you did manage to hit one of the grretch at this range, you would be wasting your ammo. Save it 'til later. Save it for the orks."
- This quote does seem to confirm the earlier supposition, that lasguns could reach out to a kilometer to hit a target, and that the main factor influencing this is accuracy rather than damage capability. In the case of Larn, a new, untested recruit (with a fairly basic scope and minus a targeter; and quite nervous to boot) probably is less likely to hit a target at that range than a more veteran (and better equipped trooper.).

Page 80
"Sector command says auspex is reading a lot of movement in the ork lines."
- Guard forces in this battle are equipped with long range auspex. Range of at least several kilometers easily.

- It should also be noted that these troopers are also equipped with comm beads, range unknown.

Page 82
Not for the first time, Larn found himself fighting the urge to take his lasgun and fire at them. To shoot over and over again until every one of ugly inhuman faces he could see before him had been obliterated.

"Its an old trick, new fish," Repzik said. "They're waiting for us to shoot at them and give away our positions."

"But that's suicide," Larn said. "Why would they be willing to sacrifice themselves like that?"
- The orks deliberately expose their own troops (getchin mainly, I believe) to Imperial gunfire in order to force them to "give away their positions" This again suggests that lasguns have the ability to hit a target at least a kilometer away (or at least Larn and Repzik believes so.) And again, this is probably somewhat conservative. Note that against some targets (like Orks) this might not be lethal shots, although Larn's statements suggest otherwise (if his opinion as a new recruit means anything, at least.)

Page 83
"We hold fire until they're three hundred metres away."
- The "kill zone" range for lasguns. Against Orks, anyhow. (Presumably since Orks are so difficult to kill, they have to sacrifice some range to ensure precise and lethal hits (the "taking the head off" kind we see in The later Ciaphas Cain novels, anyhow. This is later confirmed by the fact that in later battles they do indeed decapitate ork corpses to ensure they are dead.)

Gretchin, of course are much less durable, as are most human opponents. Longer range shots could, of course, wound an ork, but wounding them is at best inefficient and at worst ineffective (even if it does go down, it probably will just get up later.)

Page 84
"eight hundred metres," Vidmir said, sighting in on the enemy with the targeter clipped to the side of his lasgun, his calm voice barely audible above the sound of approaching thunder as the greenskins charged ever closer. "Keep yourselves cold and sharp. No firing until they reach the kill zone."
- Again, this suggests that the Imperium lasguns could in fact hit targets beyond 300 meters had they wished (and given the 'sighting in" bit, ,it probably would have a good chance of hitting), it just may not have been helpful against orks.

Page 85

- at 300 metres the Guard ranks open up with lasguns (single shot), frag missiles, autocannon, airbursting mortar and grenade launcher rounds and lascannon. Incidentally, assuming an ideal 45 degree angle, mortar velocity would be around 50-60 meters per second, while a shallower angle (15-20 degrees) would yield a 70-80 m/s velocity (the latter is quite possible given the incident - the use of grenade and missiles at simialr range might imply a more "direct fire" use.)

Page 86

- at 120 metres the Guards switch to rapid fire and open up (after switching power packs.) At this point the Orks have covered 180 meters. Assuming a roughly 7-10 m/s running speed, and ignoring delays in reaching max running speed, we might infer roughly between 18-25 seconds spent firing. Assuming 2-3 semi-auto rounds per second and that they maintained this rate for virtutally the whole time, the lasguns could have as much as between 50-75 shots per pack, possibly as high as 90-100 shots if the time lasts as long as half a minute or more, but there is no mention of reloading between the time they start firing and the time they change packs and go full auto, and other instances of sustained lasgun fire have indicated they can fire for a minute or more without heating concenrs (IE first and only.)

Note that working backwards and assuming at least 40 shots per pack (the lowest for a non-hotshot pack) we can assume they were getting off at least 30-40 shots a second. It is possible, however that they WERE using hotshot packs (the quartermaster later implies that other veteran Vardan troops carry them.) in which case the ammo capacity could be much lower (but allow for much powerful shots, ,which would make sense against the orks.) In this case fewer shots (20-30 or so) might amke more sense, but it is possible that some hotshot packs could go higher (say, 40 or 50)

At the worst, we could assume both hotshot packs and a 75-100 shot pack, but I consider that rare at best, and unlikley at worst.

Page 88
He saw an ork shot point-blank in the face, its feral inhuman features burned away in the blink of an eye bya lasgun in full burst.
- Implies that the Ork's head is at least partially blown apart by close-range lasgun fire. No indication if the burst was merely grazing or "full on", or if it was a single shot or multiple.

Page 89

- Larn's Guard helmet is tough enough to allow him to bludgeon a gretchin's head into pulp and not be scratched or damaged.

Page 90

- The Vardans use shotguns as well as lasguns and flamers (at least in close range.) This might imply that Vardan lasguns have comparable effect to a shotgun blast.

page 101
"Morphia, vein clamps. Sterilising fluid. Synth-skin canister.


"Anyway, I'm leaving oyu with half the gauze, morphia, and clamps. Plus you get to keep the insect repellent."
- Guard Regiments (most at least) seem to come with thier own medikits, some of the contents described above. Prior at least four phials of morphia were mentioned. Page 103 also mentions "stimms" which I take are also provided in the medikits.

Page 104

- Not all limbs are neccesarily augmentic or powered. the quartermaster for the Vardans has a "Mark 3 non motive proshetic, left leg model." because augmentics are in short supply.

Page 107

- Vardans (at least those that survive their "fifteen hours" and pass beyond the "new recruit" stage) are assigned certain better items such as hotshot powerpacks, laspistols, ,and smoke grenades as "standard" gear (or so it is implied.)

Page 109

- Recruitment into the Guard is known as "taking the Eagle"

Page 119

- the buildinds housing the General HQ and Sector command are known to be equipped with "extensive damage control systems, blast shields, extinguishing devicecs, and so forth" as well as being extensively fireproofed. Enough so that it could resist bombardment by certain man portaable artillery (such as grenade launchers, which are mentioned), but not neccesarily against a few high explosive rounds from an arrtillery battery. (As will be seen later, artillery, or at least some of the batteries, are generally quite heavy compared to the game-fluff basilisks.)

Page 124

- the Vardans made planetfall ten years past on Broucheroc with three regiments. out of "six thousand" Vardans, only about 180 remain (with aobut sixty or seventy replacements.) It is not specified whether the "six thousand" is for all three regiments (2,000 troops per regiment) or if that is six thousand per regiment.

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Post by 2000AD » 2007-01-10 05:49am

IIRC 15 Hours has several references to the Imperial Guardsmen's Uplifting Primer, such as the main character comparing the real orks (big, cunning and strong) to the what he was told about orks in the Primer (stupid, weak and not that big).
If you haven't got it i can start a thread on the Primer (GW released it as an 'in universe' book, like the xenology book on aliens)
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-01-16 01:49am

2000AD wrote:IIRC 15 Hours has several references to the Imperial Guardsmen's Uplifting Primer, such as the main character comparing the real orks (big, cunning and strong) to the what he was told about orks in the Primer (stupid, weak and not that big).
If you haven't got it i can start a thread on the Primer (GW released it as an 'in universe' book, like the xenology book on aliens)
I have a copy of the primer, it has some interesting tidbits, but I dunno if I'll actually "disclose" it, at least not now. I'm focusing mainly on the textual novels and such (which will occupy me for a good, long time as it is.)

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2007-01-16 02:19am

Page 135

- a gretchin sniper is sneaking across the no man's land cautiously towards Imperium lines, evidently cautious of being fired upon (or hit) by Imperial guardsman, again suggestive of the 800-1000 km range (against a point target, at least.) otherwise he wouldn't be so careful and spend hours crawling across the no-man's land (reaching the halfway point, no less, so he was at LEAST half a kilometre or more a way before taking up position.) And again, the implied range is consevative.

Page 136
Finally, perhaps halfway across no-man's land, he reached the lip of a shallow shell crater. For a moment he looked at it, then, responding to some inner instincts he could have nver named, he crawled inside. Out of sight now, he moved more quickly, crawling up the opposite slope of the crater to look through the sights of his blasta in search of a target.
Page 137

- Guardsman on this planet evidently sharpen their entrenching tools to use as weapons against the orks.

Page 140

- Larn thinks the gretchin sniper, who has just taken a shot at their position from the shell crater is "perhaps three hundred metres away". He is also a lousy shot at this range (and this seems typical for gretchin.)

Page 142

- the lasgun shot that kills the gretchin ruptures its skull, allowing its brains and blood to ooze out (not vaporized it would seem, possibly not even significantly boiled.) One may presume the setting on said lasgun is designed for minimal cauterization and maximum penetration/blast effect.

Page 143

- artillery battery of a dozen "hellbreaker" class cannons. Described later.

Page 144
..Captain Meran watched the four-man loading teams attached to each gun crew as they hurried to disappear into the tarpaulin-covered ammunition stacks beside each gun. A moment later, they emerged once more, each loading team gently cradling the shiny and deadly weight of a metre long high explosive shell between them.
Again, delighting at every well-trained movement and flawless action, Meran watched as the loading teams returned to the stacks to fetch the heavy barrel-sized cylindrical sacks of cordite that served as propellant for the cannons. Grunting under the weight, taking even more care with the volatile cordite than they had with the shells, the loading teams lifted the sacks into the guns' breeches, then retreated to their positions beside the ammunition stacks once more.
Page 144-145

Hellbreakers are manually aimed, with the trajectories given by Captain Meran (who presumably receives them from auspex, spotters, or whatnot.) They also have at least up to seventy-eight degrees of elevation.

Page 147

- Larn recokns that there are "many millions" of regiments in the Emperor's Armies.

Page 148

- The Hellbreaker cannons, or "heebees" are a local variant of the Earthshaker cannon, "just bigger".

Page 192 -
"But I've got a metal pin in me, holding my left knee together frrom the time an ork shot blew a fist sized hole in it.
Page 219

- again, the "kill zone" against the Orks is the 300 metre mark

PAge 221
Auspex reports activity in the enemy lines." Grishen said
"Five hundred metres," Scholar said, already squinting at the oncoming orks through a targeter by the time Larn through himself into the trench and took his place on the firing step beside Bulaven.
Page 222

- again at three huundred meters, las weapons, autocannons, frag missiles and mortars open fire. Again at 120 meters, they switch clips and go to full auto.

Page 223

- Flamers used at a range of a bout thirty meters, although longer (fifty or more) is implied.

Page 224

- Larn takes a missile impact to the back of his helmet, which sends him flying (and knocks said helmet off) - presumably a bullet, and presumably would have snapped his neck had the helmet been fastened on.

Page 225

- Lasguns can be fired one-handed. Orks require at least five lasgun shots to go down (pattern is chest, neck, shoulder chest, and face, the last doing for it.)

Page 226

- single flamer cannister round (can be carried by a man) incinerates multiple orks in a very short period of time. LAsgun shot ruptures metal tank.

Page 228

- LArn's lasrifle had at least 15 shots in it, and in context, it might have been considered almost empty (more than half empty, probably)

Page 233

- Ork skin is "tougher than lizard hide" and full weight must be behind entrenching tool to completely sever head (and ensure death.)

Page 234

- Orks can take headshots and come back from the wound hours later. ORks also supposedly grow from spores, so the only sure means of disposing of them is to burn the corpses. (This also probably means the one definite way to dispose of them is exterimatnus, with high temperaturea sterilization.)

Page 242

- In addition to regenerating from serious/fatal wounds in hours (mentioned again page 241) Orks can also evidently have the limbs of other (Dead) orks attached in place of their own lost limbs.

Page 249 - A lasgun is implied to release "half a dozne" lasbeams upon firing, although it not certain whether this is fully automatic, a burst-fire mode, or semi-automatic fire, although its implied below when Larn notices the barrage that it might be fully automatic ("staccato burst"

Page 250

- Larn fires on another large ork, a surgeon. It takes at least fivew or six (probably more) hits and kept coming: stomach, ,chest, shoulder and face (the last shot melting a "thick lensed monocular" and scorching his eye socket.

Page 251

- the Orks open fire randomly from their lines at Guardsman approximately half a kilometre away (sneaking through no-man's land in a nighttime stealth mission.)

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