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Old 02-09-2019, 05:58 AM   #21
Icelander
 
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Default Making Synthetic Rubber in an AtE/AH/Lest Darkness Fall Situation

tshiggins, I came across a possibility that the ASNs could actually make synthetic rubber. I don't have a clue how long it would take them to set up any kind of production, though. For all I know, it could be months, it could be years or it could be decades.

So, depending on how hard it is to manufacture synthetic rubber when you have men who've recently ran a slave factory that did just that, but no longer have the TL7 economy of tens of millions that made it easy to acquire everything you needed, the ASNs might or might not have to switch over from rubber tires. They'll have a couple of tons of spares, at first, and plenty of materials to patch tires, and they'll aim to set up manufacture of synthetic rubber as soon as they've set up exttaction and/or manufacture of all the raw materials required.

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When neither a magical gate nor a navigable waterway link a location where some natural resource is abundant with an ASN settlement, either a canal or a road must be established. Canals are no doubt greatly to be preferred, but it will take the ASNs centuries to match the system of dense waterways that exists in modern Germany. Until that happy day, transport over land will be a regrettable neccesity.

What is required to build good autobahs and railway tracks is a matter for future analysis, as is the fuel required to transport things over them. For the moment, let's assume that animal- or human-powered carts, wagons, wheelbarrows and bicycles will be used on and off good roads, because the need to transport things will not wait for the ASNs to construct perfect infrastructure.

Bicycles strike me as something numerous ASNs might have taken with them when they went through the gates, as they were fairly common in German society, light enough to carry through and obviously useful in a world without railways or other transport infrastructure. Even without roads, bikes allow you to move heavier weights than you could carry.

But bicycles, especially bicycles used for cargo transport on poor or no roads, require a constant supply of rubber tires. Without rubber tires, bicycles are probably inferior to low-tech carts with wooden wheels.

As it happens, Heinrich Bütefisch is an Antarctic Space Nazi. Bütefisch spent much of WWII running slave plants making synthetic rubber, more precisely Buna, Buna-S and Buna-N rubber. Many of the SS men who oversaw the Buna Werke and the camps that supplied the labour are also Antarctic Space Nazis.

Where can the ASNs get the chemicals needed to make this kind of synthetic rubber?

I note that in Germany, the camps were supplied with raw materials from Polish coal fields. The ASNs have access to plenty of coal fields. What more do they need for synthetic rubber manufacture?

How soon, if at all, could Bütefisch start making rubber to replace depleted bicycle tires?
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:03 AM   #22
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Default Re: Making Synthetic Rubber in an AtE/AH/Lest Darkness Fall Situation

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
tshiggins, I came across a possibility that the ASNs could actually make synthetic rubber. I don't have a clue how long it would take them to set up any kind of production, though. For all I know, it could be months, it could be years or it could be decades.

(SNIP)
Synthetic rubber research came out of the study of petrochemicals. The time it would take to set up a petrochemical industry determines how long it would take to start researching synthetic rubber products.

I'm certain it could happen eventually, but you'd know better than me if the existing supplies of rubber tires (already in very short supply in Germany by the end of the war) would last until the ASNs could set up a petrochemical industry and associated supply chain as sophisticated as what Germany had in the 1890s.

That said, anything they could do to preserve existing stocks would help, right?

If the ASNs perceive the development of wooden paths and roads as a "doable" transportation network that could be achieved with in situ resources, early on, they might go for it.

All it needs is wooden planks, 15x15 cm posts (6x6s, in GURPS terms), cheap nails, simple iron brackets, flat stones at the bases of the posts to keep them out of the mud, and labor.

What they get is faster transportation than anybody else, on wooden paths and roads that help the bicycles (and eventually horse-carts) last longer with less maintenance.

Once they get access to petroleum (or even rubber and sulphur chemicals), then yeah, make rubber tires again. But that'll take awhile, and by then they'd want to have shifted to Roman roads, anyway.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:03 PM   #23
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Default Re: Making Synthetic Rubber in an AtE/AH/Lest Darkness Fall Situation

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Synthetic rubber research came out of the study of petrochemicals. The time it would take to set up a petrochemical industry determines how long it would take to start researching synthetic rubber products.
It would't take much new research. The ASNs have hundreds of people who actually did set up factories that did this, from scratch, in Nazi Germany, and even used mostly slave labour to do so. The only thing preventing them from continuing their production in the new world is lack of whatever industrial chemicals they used on Earth, which, as you say, will have to be manufactured as part of a new petrochemical industry.

The ASNs will even have taken all the small tools and machines of these synthetic rubber factories that would be hard to make without a TL7 infrastructure with them. After all, they are planning to have a TL7 chemical industry again as soon as possible and they are bringing 30,000 tons of supplies that are designed to enable them to maintain a military supremacy and to help them bootstrap industry.

Depending on how long it takes to get such materials again, it's possible that the experts who had extensive experience at setting up the factories might have forgotten some things that made the manufacture more efficient, some of them might have retired and others would have died, but unless there is no chance of somehow obtaining the chemicals that are needed within half a century or earlier, there would still be living people with experience at this.

No matter how long it took to build up to the capacity to make such chemicals, by the time it had been achieved, there would be extensive written blueprints, production notes, guidelines and textbooks written by Bütefisch and his staff that were designed to allow the creation of synthetic rubber plants by the Antarctic Space Nazis, that would have been revised all through their lifetimes to incorporate knowledge of the current state of the art in ASN economy and industry, and their access to raw materials and infrastructure to make any tools and machines needed.

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I'm certain it could happen eventually, but you'd know better than me if the existing supplies of rubber tires (already in very short supply in Germany by the end of the war) would last until the ASNs could set up a petrochemical industry and associated supply chain as sophisticated as what Germany had in the 1890s.
I judge that it wouldn't, not on any large scale, but I'm not sure how long it would take to start making synthetic rubber in small quantities, enough to keep the relatively affluent middle class of Deutschblütig citizens in patches and the occasional new bicycle tire, to use to travel between magical gates that are maybe 10-20 km apart.

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That said, anything they could do to preserve existing stocks would help, right?
Absolutely. At the start, they don't have enough of a national stock of horses for everyone to ride and, in any case, a lot of the educated urban ASN settlers with technical expertise weren't horsemen and don't necessarily want to stop cycling to work if they don't have to.

And until they have bred hundreds of thousands of powerful horses (the local variety averages twelve hands in height) from the few thousands they brought as breeding stock and made correspondingly large numbers of well-designed wagons and carts, bicycles will remain a convenient alternate method to move people and cargo over level or mostly level ground.

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If the ASNs perceive the development of wooden paths and roads as a "doable" transportation network that could be achieved with in situ resources, early on, they might go for it.

All it needs is wooden planks, 15x15 cm posts (6x6s, in GURPS terms), cheap nails, simple iron brackets, flat stones at the bases of the posts to keep them out of the mud, and labor.

What they get is faster transportation than anybody else, on wooden paths and roads that help the bicycles (and eventually horse-carts) last longer with less maintenance.
That all sounds plausible. Of course, improving the navigability of waterways and digging canals between the rivers is an alternative, competing method of transportation for the ASNs.

I imagine that wooden roads are simple enough to do with mostly native labour so that they'd be preferred for some routes with naturally level terrain that is both close to sources of wood, but not actually in thick forest itself, and no convenient waterway that goes the same way. The Hellweg between the Rhine and the Weser, for example.

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Once they get access to petroleum (or even rubber and sulphur chemicals), then yeah, make rubber tires again. But that'll take awhile, and by then they'd want to have shifted to Roman roads, anyway.
Roman roads, however, might take a longer time to appear, simply because the ASNs project their main military might mostly through magical gates and the World Tree. Their initial settlements will be within walking distance of magical gates or access to the World Tree and even a generation or so into their history, I don't see them as building many settlements very far away from a gate, not unless it's a mining settlement near a natural resource they can't afford to ignore. And then they'd really prefer it be on a navigable waterway or at least near enough to one so that they could dig a canal to it.

Any military movements that are overland tend to be auxiliary natives just providing security to supply routes of economic importance. And waterways and canals are better for moving heavy loads, anyway. That isn't to say that they'll never build Roman roads, just that roads are below other vital infrastructure projects on the priority list.
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:00 PM   #24
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Default Re: ... Lest Darkness Fall ...

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... Lest Darkness Fall ...
So I wasn't the only one who encountered this little game...
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:07 PM   #25
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Default Re: ... Lest Darkness Fall ...

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So I wasn't the only one who encountered this little game...
Game?

I'm thinking of L. Sprague de Camp's Alternate History / Time Travel / Science-fiction novel, which has been influential enough among people who write and speculate about this sort of thing so that it can almost be termed a template for the genre (even though it is not technically the first).
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:05 AM   #26
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Default Re: ... Lest Darkness Fall ...

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Game?

I'm thinking of L. Sprague de Camp's Alternate History / Time Travel / Science-fiction novel, which has been influential enough among people who write and speculate about this sort of thing so that it can almost be termed a template for the genre (even though it is not technically the first).
HAH! Never read it (but I don't really like de Camp), but yeah, Lest Darkness Fall is a supernatural/monster hunter board game/rpg... the campaign premise leading up to the apocalypse.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:28 PM   #27
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Default Re: ... Lest Darkness Fall ...

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HAH! Never read it (but I don't really like de Camp), but yeah, Lest Darkness Fall is a supernatural/monster hunter board game/rpg... the campaign premise leading up to the apocalypse.
The novel (which I also highly recommend) concerns a modern-day archaeologist (circa 1939) getting zapped back to Rome during the reign of the Ostrogoths, after the empire had fallen.

Some of his values seem jarring, to those of us raised after the 1960s Civil Rights era, but the protagonist (although a bit of a Marty Stu) is a decent enough sort.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:37 PM   #28
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Default Re: Carrying lots of stuff on bicycles

Checking my copy of Bicycling Science (first edition), Table 7.4, I see that rolling resistance for a 150 lb. man is 58 newtons, while rolling resistance for a cyclist at the same speed, total weight 170 lbs., is 4 newtons. Scaling up the resistance for the man to 170 lbs. gives 58 x (17/15) = 66 newtons, which is about 16.5x as much. So riding a bicycle divides by 16.5. I think it would be close enough for gaming purposes to divide by 15, halfway between a cart (divide by 10) and a wagon (divide by 20).

This ignores wind resistance/drag, which seems reasonable for walking speed, which you might have for a bicycle carrying a heavy load. Once you get up to 20 mph (Move 10), drag becomes hugely more important than rolling resistance. I'm not sure how to represent that; maybe it's best handled as a Top Speed rather than as carrying capacity.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:16 PM   #29
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Default Re: Making Synthetic Rubber in an AtE/AH/Lest Darkness Fall Situation

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(SNIP)


That all sounds plausible. Of course, improving the navigability of waterways and digging canals between the rivers is an alternative, competing method of transportation for the ASNs.

I imagine that wooden roads are simple enough to do with mostly native labour so that they'd be preferred for some routes with naturally level terrain that is both close to sources of wood, but not actually in thick forest itself, and no convenient waterway that goes the same way. The Hellweg between the Rhine and the Weser, for example.


Roman roads, however, might take a longer time to appear, simply because the ASNs project their main military might mostly through magical gates and the World Tree. Their initial settlements will be within walking distance of magical gates or access to the World Tree and even a generation or so into their history, I don't see them as building many settlements very far away from a gate, not unless it's a mining settlement near a natural resource they can't afford to ignore. And then they'd really prefer it be on a navigable waterway or at least near enough to one so that they could dig a canal to it.

Any military movements that are overland tend to be auxiliary natives just providing security to supply routes of economic importance. And waterways and canals are better for moving heavy loads, anyway. That isn't to say that they'll never build Roman roads, just that roads are below other vital infrastructure projects on the priority list.
Canals are a great choice, but construction of them is even more energy-intensive than Roman roads. They'd be the last (albeit, best) mode of transportation built. Until steam-shovels and dredges exist, that much digging is really hard.

For instance, construction of Erie Canal mostly took place before the U.S. industrialized and depended entirely on human and animal labor. In addition to the several hundred skilled masons brought from the German principalities, the canal needed thousands of diggers, teamsters and draft animals.

Even with all that, it took eight years to build a single canal 363 miles long, through terrain carefully chosen to present the least amount of topographical difficulties.

A canal network such as Germany's takes many decades to complete. Until it's done, other modes are needed.

I can't imagine Germans would settle for dirt tracks, so I figured I'd list alternatives in order of difficulty, based on the available resources and skill levels of the labor force and those supplying materials.

Canals eventually, absolutely. But until then, people need roads. What are the best roads to start with, given available resources and labor?
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:42 PM   #30
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Default Re: Making Synthetic Rubber in an AtE/AH/Lest Darkness Fall Situation

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For instance, construction of Erie Canal mostly took place before the U.S. industrialized and depended entirely on human and animal labor. In addition to the several hundred skilled masons brought from the German principalities, the canal needed thousands of diggers, teamsters and draft animals.

Even with all that, it took eight years to build a single canal 363 miles long, through terrain carefully chosen to present the least amount of topographical difficulties.
However, the ASN have armies of Kadavergehorsamer who can be put to work, and can do far more than normal workers. The Erie Canal was the world's second longest canal at the time; putting shorter canals between is far easier, when it's possible.
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