Caves of Ice is a much shorter book compared to the other Cain novels, but despite that, its somehow managed to be packed full of TONS of technical data. Some of it i've coveed before (or others have covered) and I'll go over those again with some revisions, hopefully. I still enjoy the Cain novels (though having started the Gaunt's Ghosts books, ,i'm enjoying those as much too.)
Anyhow, onto the techie stuff.
again mention of the word "Klom", described as "A Valhallan colloquialism" and its definition as "kilometres".
- Regiments frequently employ orbital sensors (or starships doubling in that role, although in the latter case I imagine its a warship or other military vessel and not civilian one.) for data collection. (We see simialr tactics in the Sabbat Worlds Crusade)A troopship would have been equipped to deploy a proper orbital sensor net, which would have been infinitely preferable, but the battered old freighter's navigational array would just have to do. Our deployment was a hurried one, made in response to a frantic astropathic message from the staff of the installation below us, so we had to make do with what we could grab instead of waiting around for the right equipment.
Cain also notes that this deployment was 'rushed', and probably does not constitute a standard setup.
- According to Cain, the transportt the "Pure of Heart had a primary responsibility of orbiting over the refinery and feeding the sensor data into the 597th's tactical net, enabling them to "keep an eye on our enemies from above."
- the Pure of Heart had no military dropships, so they converted heavy cargo haulers to the purpose: the front third of the ship was convereted into troop-carrying capacity ("five score seats") and the rest was for supplies and equipment (including "Sentinels, Chimaeras, and other vehicles - presumably such as Cain's Salamander.)
- the cargo hauler Cain is riding in takes fire from Ork ground weaponry shortly after entering the atmosphere. Even accounting for probable reentry speeds (at least 8 km/s, but possibly as high as 13+ km/s) and the fact the Orks do not evidently understand (or care) about the concept of effective weapon's range, this is still many kilometers/tens of kilometers distant.
Also, according to Cain, it would have taken hours for the hauler to abort its current trajectory and return to orbit - the life support would give out long before they could return.
It should be noted, I believe, that the shuttle here was implied to be running on promethium (like alot of 40K vehicles of that size.) Not unreaosnable for a shuttle, however its chemical reactions would have to be extremely powerful - as Mike has noted numerous times, it takes a minimum of 60 MJ/kg to escape an earthlike gravity well (far more than modern gasoline or diesel) This, along with other evidence, tends to suggest Imperium chemical explosives and engines are probably alot more powerful than our modern equivalents (potentially at least - efficiency is still an issue.)
Tanker cargo shuttles are 500 meters long (which suggests that the tankers themselves are easily multi-mile.) The landing strip for the shuttles is also implied to be many kilometers long and maybe as many wide.The shuttles from the tankers are over five hundred meters long," I said, dredging up a half-digested fact from the largely ignored briefing slate. "And they land up to twelve at a time.
- Sulla opens fire with her lasgun at a recently-spotted grroup of Orks. Relevant for the discussion insofar as a minimum range for lasguns is established later.
Page 31 -
- The Orks were a minimum of two hundred meters away (actually farther) when Sulla opened fire. Cain deliberately ordered them to hold fire until they get closer. Its worth noting that this implies a bare-ass minimum of 200 meters for the Valhallan rifles, but probably longer, given what was implied in other sourcs (like Fifteen hours.) It is worth noting here, though, that the orks traveled some distance befoer Cain actually started counting (seconds perhaps, maybe a fwe minutes) so it could be longer ranged (250 meters, 300 meters, maybe even 500 meters.)"Hold your fire," I broadcast over the comm-net. Hardly neccessary of course, these troopers knew what to do, but I didn't want any mistakes. The orks came on regardless, running apparently tirelessly despite the treacherous footing and the biting wind which would have sapped the strength from an unprotected man in seconds. I began mentally counting off the distance. Two hundred metres, one hundred and fifty...
The closer they got, the more detail I could make out, and the less I wished I could see.
- Cain comments that Ork axes, crude as they are, can shear through Astartes armour when driven by ork muscles. This either comments on the nature of 40K materials science, Ork Strength, or both.
- a heavy bolter "tears apart" a couple orks, prior to engagement by the Valhallans at short range.
There are 10 orks total (as mentioned by Cain on page 31), minus 2-3 already destroyed by the heavy bolter. There were also 3 squads or so disembarked (30 lasguns), probably plus the command section (andother 5-6 ppl IIRC) as well as the Chimaera with its heavy bolter (only one is mentioned, and the others probably weren't offloaded yet.)I don't suppose they even knew what hit them: suddenly struck by the concentrated fire of a couple of score of lasguns, not to mention the unrelenting hail of heavy bolter fire, there was nothing much left of them apart from some unpleasant stains on the snow within seconds. Sulla ambled over to inspect the mess, and spat a small gobbet of ice on it.
The quote implies that the gunfire (lasguns plus the Chimaera's bolter) basically exploded and/or vaporized the orks in a matter of seconds.
The problem is, though, we dont know the actual ratio between lasguns and bolter fire. given above, its likely though that the bolters could only take out a 2-3 orks "in a few seconds", possibly a few less. which means that 4-6 orks were destroyed by the Valhallans.
Assuming 4 orks, and a mass of around 200 kilos per ork (about 2-3x more massive than a huhman, which may be conservative since other sourcese like Ghostmaker imply 400+ kilos for an ork), is 800 kg. Assuming 70% water composition, is 560 kg.
Conservative: Assuming the lasgun fire merely boiled that much water (boiling point), a minimum of ~200 MJ must be injected (remember, lasguns cauterize as well as explode, hence the conservative term) Assuming 40 lasguns ("a couple score", even though i mentioned above only 30, 35 with the command section were probably actually there and Cain might have been rounding up.) and 3 seconds worth of fire, we come out with a sustained output of 1.67 megawatts per lasgun.
Assuming total vaporization of the 560 kg mass, the energy input becomes 1.5 gigajoules (boiling point plus vaporisation) Again assuming 40 lasguns over 3 seconds comes out to 12.5 megawatts per lasgun.
Note that at least SOME vaporization should be considered liekly, so the low end is EXTREMELY low. It also ignores inefficiencies, number of orks destroyed, any armour the orks were wearing, etc.