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Old 03-01-2019, 06:20 PM   #361
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger in Ice Caves and Tunnels

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I was assuming that the winches would be handled by Mi-gö or Kadavergehorsam in the design. However, the need for flak defences suggests a different way of doing things.
I suppose they could theoretically provide the motive power, which would cut down on the size of Elemental Furnace needed, but you'll always need humans with technical skills and TL7 to handle some aspects of transhipping cargo, which means there will always need to be some way to heat a place up on the pillar. I don't know how long even a well equipped man can survive in -92° C temperatures, but I'm betting that the time it took to moor an airship or move a shipment through the gate would be enough for any unprotected technician to wish really hard for a heating unit.

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To make this work, you need a very good insulating material to keep heat in the steel long enough for it to keep things warm at distances of a few metres. Can the magicians help with that? You still use low-temperature steel for the structure so that it can survive losses of heat or insulation without risk of shattering. You can't use contraction in the cold to hold it all together, but it stays warm enough that you can use bolts instead.
I expect insulation is something RPM magic does well. After all, the same ritual that the ASN occultist use on airbags, to give them Sealed, would work to make any material impermeable. Heat loss should be something they can minimize with a fairly modest enchantment and one that is merely a slightly different familiarity of one they use heavily. Dozens of the occultists making supplies for Kadath Base will have Ritual Mastery with the ritual to make a material Sealed.

Playing with how steel conducts and radiates heat is possible and something I expect some occultists and alchemists in the Ahnenerbe have been working on for at least a decade, since they started arctic exploration with airships on Germania Hypetborea. It's not quite as fundamental to ASN magic as the airbag ritual (which is probably taught to every single student with the gift to learn RPM rituals), but it's definitely something that can be done and this base would certainly rate having some experts inscribe the appropriate runes on the steel parts before they're delivered.

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It would be a good idea to put the heated hut next to the lift down to ground level, just to make life easier for people going up and down. The lift will need its own heating anyway. You might also put the crane on top of the heated hut, since the elevation is convenient for not cluttering the top of the pillar, which isn't a very big area. You put the hut and lift on the side of the pillar that has a tall building closest, since that's a direction that flying attackers are less likely to use, and it's hard to fit a flak gun into the available space on that side of the pillar.

Does all that make sense?
That sounds good.

What does that mean in terms of the flak or machine guns placed on top of the pillar?

None, because the space won't allow it?

One 2 cm Flak, on the opposite side of the lift?

Or more? Can they mount the 30mm autocannon up there?
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:29 PM   #362
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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Yeah, but I don't think the crowded control post for the lift and cranes would double as a good FlAK emplacement. That should be as close to airtight as you can manage and located based on closeness to the machinery, whereas the AA positions need to be open enough for the FlAK to protrude out and vent fumes, and need to rotate through a half sphere with minimum obstructions. Maybe you could mount them on top of the control post, although with the wind I would expect that anything on top of the pillar will be as short as possible (also, holes for the gun barrels on the 1. Stock will suck the warm air from the ground floor into the Antarctic void, and if you want a structure like the housing for a medium-sized telescope around the guns then you need mechanisms for turning it and power for them, those Gebirgsgeschütze leave out the gun shields to save weight).

I am sure that German Engineering(TM) could find some kind of solution, but the need to have a space which is airtight so guards can survive a 4-hour shift, and then ventilated to let out propellant gasses, shell casings, etc. and allow the guns to rotate in all directions will be a challenge. So would the contrast between -80C at the muzzle, and the breech rising towards +400 after a few hundred rounds of rapid fire.

Edit: Also, given the likely threats they will want as many guns as possible to rotate independently, which again increases the challenges if you want fixed positions with some kind of heated shelter.
All good points.

At the moment, I don't know if the PCs will fly directly at the pillar with a Skyship or land it somewhere and either infiltrate through ice-covered 'streets' of Kadath or find a tunnel somewhere. The PCs aren't actually aiming to disturb the ASN personnel of Kadath Base, but it is just their bad luck that the enspelled Mi-gö they are using as a homing yeti to lead them to the monster that waits at the end of the dream is leading them to a subglacial lake miles below the ice, directly under the pillar.

So, if the PCs don't stop and think, they'll fly right into whatever defences the ASNs have around the pillar to defend against exactly this, a single skyship of hostile Dreamland locals. If they do stop and come up with a plan, they'll probably have to go through any subterranean base defences that are meant to stop ghouls and nightgaunts. Either way, I've got to know where the ASNs have mounted machine guns and heavier ordnance, so I can determine how many emplaced weapons fire on the PCs and the merry band of Sky Pirates with them.

Also, as it's pretty dark apart from unearthly glow from some of the buildings, I'll have to decide where the ASNs would mount lights.
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:45 PM   #363
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger in Ice Caves and Tunnels

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You mentioned that in addition to occupying one of the buildings the ASNs would also be doing expeditions down below, where there are magical icy caverns filled with horrors.
I'll address the post as a whole when I'm at a computer instead of a tablet, but I just wanted to clarify that the ASNs aren't exploring the stygian depths below Kadath as a matter of policy. Strategically, the base is meant to support exploration of the Dreamlands by airship and provide a base for efforts to exploit any resources the ASNs want there. Those resources are mostly located thousands of miles away and at the moment, one of the duties of the ASN officers in charge of the zeppelin Amfortas and Kadath Base is collecting data that will enable a decision on what kind of investment this world warrants, if any.

As a matter of fact, the personnel at Kadath have no orders to explore the city itself or tunnels below it. However, as a tactical matter, soldiers tasked with providing security for the gate and the airship mooring facilities have to patrol the environment to prevent any unpleasant surprises.

That doesn't mean they'll lauch expensive and risky expeditions into the infinite depths of ghoul- and nightgaunt-infested tunnels below Kadath, but it does mean they'll set up enough checkpoints and patrols in the tunnels that lead anywhere close to the pillar or the quarters of the base personnel to enable them to spot any large scale attack before it's on them.

The ASN defence force has outposts in the tunnels as part of defence in depth, not because they are trying to carry out any real exploration down there. In fact, they probably have strict orders not to go too deep or too far away from tunnels where they have support available.
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Old 03-02-2019, 02:07 AM   #364
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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I don't know how long even a well equipped man can survive in -92° C temperatures
They will need extraordinary levels of clothing, including heated clothing. Since the ASN don't have modern plastics, their equipment will be bulkier and heavier than modern stuff. Something that may seem weird to the PCs is that the ASN will be trained to move slowly and deliberately, because getting sweaty is very dangerous. The sweat freezes and destroys the insulating properties of clothing.
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What does that mean in terms of the flak or machine guns placed on top of the pillar?

None, because the space won't allow it?

One 2 cm Flak, on the opposite side of the lift?

Or more? Can they mount the 30mm autocannon up there?
Take a look at this diagram of the top of the pillar. Weapons should clearly be placed at points of the pentagram, on the rim of the top of the pillar.

Imagine the heated hut being placed at the intersection just below the middle of the diagram. The two points below it on the rim of the pillar will be the warmest, but they are cramped for space because of the hut, and one of them will have the top of the lift mechanism. I'd mount an MG42 in the lift, for defense against attackers on the ground, and another at the other warm point.

Mount 2 cm flak guns on the points at the left and right of the diagram. Don't try to put a weapon on the point at the top of the diagram, because that's where the airship mooring mast is, and if the airship is there, it's just too easy to shoot it by accident.
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Old 03-02-2019, 05:28 AM   #365
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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They will need extraordinary levels of clothing, including heated clothing. Since the ASN don't have modern plastics, their equipment will be bulkier and heavier than modern stuff.
Depending on how advanced 1940s insulated and heated clothing is, it might be worth using the Sealed ritual that is used for zeppelin airbags on one or more of the layers. The warming spells for heating the hydrogen might also be useful to make heated clothing, if the technology to do that is expensive or hard to work with at their level of technology and infrastructure.

Even if not everybody gets magic space suits, maybe enough outer layers with Sealed and warming effects so that anyone who has to stand regular shifts outside can put one on while he does.
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Something that may seem weird to the PCs is that the ASN will be trained to move slowly and deliberately, because getting sweaty is very dangerous. The sweat freezes and destroys the insulating properties of clothing.
Yeah, that will seem pretty strange to the PCs, as they are sauntering about feeling no more cold than a low thermostat setting, thanks to a Path of Energy ritual that keeps them warm and insulated, regardless of clothing or exerction.

Of course, their merry band of pirates might not enjoy sailing into colder climes. In several hours of cruising after the PCs met them, the average temperature around the Rocinante has dropped by -45° C or so and the several layers of furs worn by the sky pirates are nowhere near enough any longer. Most of the pirates have taken to the crew deck with alchemical braziers, magically warm stones, blankets and more furs, trying stay warm somehow. While Don Rafael de la Vega is still eager to aid the rescue of any fair maid from a foul fiend, he'll have a challenge on his hands if he means to order his crew to battle stations in such deadly cold, let alone if he were to tell them to prepare to land and go out on foot.

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Take a look at this diagram of the top of the pillar. Weapons should clearly be placed at points of the pentagram, on the rim of the top of the pillar.

Imagine the heated hut being placed at the intersection just below the middle of the diagram. The two points below it on the rim of the pillar will be the warmest, but they are cramped for space because of the hut, and one of them will have the top of the lift mechanism. I'd mount an MG42 in the lift, for defense against attackers on the ground, and another at the other warm point.

Mount 2 cm flak guns on the points at the left and right of the diagram. Don't try to put a weapon on the point at the top of the diagram, because that's where the airship mooring mast is, and if the airship is there, it's just too easy to shoot it by accident.
Ok, so the total armament of the pillar superstructure is two 2 cm flak guns and two MG42s.

Is it better to mount the lower velocity MG FF 20mm autocannons and the more powerful MK 108 30mm autocannon on the top of a lower structure?
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:08 AM   #366
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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Depending on how advanced 1940s insulated and heated clothing is, it might be worth using the Sealed ritual that is used for zeppelin airbags on one or more of the layers. The warming spells for heating the hydrogen might also be useful to make heated clothing, if the technology to do that is expensive or hard to work with at their level of technology and infrastructure.
That is another of those issues where 'advanced' and 'tech level' falls on its face: the 1940s is still a period where the state of the art for arctic equipment is pretty much what the Inuit have been wearing for hundreds of years. Its only late in the 20th century, with the popularization of outdoor sports and improvements in various branches of the textile and chemistry industries, that 'high tech' kit starts to be warmer and lighter than its traditional equivalents (but people in Siberia still use fur to trim the hoods of their parkas because it does not ice, and goose down is still a beloved stuffing for winter coats in Canada).

WW II bomber crews had electrically heated suits, but they relied a cable plugged into the aircraft's electrical wiring, and WW II cables and plugs are fragile: when I used an Enigma machine, we were not allowed to touch the cables for the plug board, the previous owners thoughtlessly failed to provide spares.

Of course, Nazis lumbering around slowly and deliberately, with cables snaking out of their extreme weather clothing, could give some of the players a false impression, especially if they have already been introduced to the Kadavargehorsam.

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Ok, so the total armament of the pillar superstructure is two 2 cm flak guns and two MG42s.

Is it better to mount the lower velocity MG FF 20mm autocannons and the more powerful MK 108 30mm autocannon on the top of a lower structure?
That also lets the guns on field expedient/New Reich carriages, and the one shooting the heaviest ammo, be closest to ground level.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:55 AM   #367
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Depending on how advanced 1940s insulated and heated clothing is, it might be worth using the Sealed ritual that is used for zeppelin airbags on one or more of the layers. The warming spells for heating the hydrogen might also be useful to make heated clothing, if the technology to do that is expensive or hard to work with at their level of technology and infrastructure.
Simple heated clothing is straightforward: lead-acid batteries on a belt or in a backpack, and resistive heating wire in a layer of clothing. They can build that with no problem, but the batteries are heavy. They won't have the materials for plastic-cased gel packs: do they have a source of rubber? If so, they can make rubber water packs, which do the same, but are a bit heavier.
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Is it better to mount the lower velocity MG FF 20mm autocannons and the more powerful MK 108 30mm autocannon on the top of a lower structure?
That depends on the expected threats. If the sky is the main source of attacks, then position all your autocannon for that. If ground-level attacks are plausible, then it's easier to keep the guns warm by firing them out of mounts on the sides of buildings. You do need to keep them warm, because they aren't made of serious low-temperature steel, and if you manage to fire them when they're at -80°C they will shatter.

Guns on the airship will likewise need keeping warm; I presume it has a warm-air heating system driven by the Elemental Furnace(s)?

Incidentally, the MK 108 is quite a low-velocity weapon, so it isn't powerful in that sense. However, its shells have a lot of explosive.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:04 AM   #368
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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That is another of those issues where 'advanced' and 'tech level' falls on its face: the 1940s is still a period where the state of the art for arctic equipment is pretty much what the Inuit have been wearing for hundreds of years. Its only late in the 20th century, with the popularization of outdoor sports and improvements in various branches of the textile and chemistry industries, that 'high tech' kit starts to be warmer and lighter than its traditional equivalents (but people in Siberia still use fur to trim the hoods of their parkas because it does not ice, and goose down is still a beloved stuffing for winter coats in Canada).

WW II bomber crews had electrically heated suits, but they relied a cable plugged into the aircraft's electrical wiring, and WW II cables and plugs are fragile: when I used an Enigma machine, we were not allowed to touch the cables for the plug board, the previous owners thoughtlessly failed to provide spares.
That all sounds like it might amount to more expense to make a technological suit that can resist the conditions than it does to have a couple of occultists make a Sealed outer layer of clothing.
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Of course, Nazis lumbering around slowly and deliberately, with cables snaking out of their extreme weather clothing, could give some of the players a false impression, especially if they have already been introduced to the Kadavargehorsam.
Indeed so.

And even if there is a layer of RPM Sealed clothing, I figure no amount of protective clothing is really enough on that kind of cold. So clumsy warming devices can coexist with high-quality magical Sealed clothing.

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That also lets the guns on field expedient/New Reich carriages, and the one shooting the heaviest ammo, be closest to ground level.
Well, I imagine that in Year 51 of ASN settlement, they have vehicle and AA mounts for all five autocannon they have available at the base. They probably came off an airship that's being rebuilt with new engines and the mounts from the airship would be shipped with them.
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Old 03-02-2019, 08:30 AM   #369
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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Simple heated clothing is straightforward: lead-acid batteries on a belt or in a backpack, and resistive heating wire in a layer of clothing. They can build that with no problem, but the batteries are heavy. They won't have the materials for plastic-cased gel packs: do they have a source of rubber? If so, they can make rubber water packs, which do the same, but are a bit heavier.
They get rubber from the Dreamlands and a few other sources, but so far, much less than they want.
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That depends on the expected threats. If the sky is the main source of attacks, then position all your autocannon for that. If ground-level attacks are plausible, then it's easier to keep the guns warm by firing them out of mounts on the sides of buildings. You do need to keep them warm, because they aren't made of serious low-temperature steel, and if you manage to fire them when they're at -80°C they will shatter.
The ground level threat is more probable, but, on the other hand, any aerial threats would be the kind that might call for firepower above 7.92x57mm Mauser.

Human wave attacks of ghouls from the tunnels can be defeated with rifles and machine guns, but shantaks, vile beasts or skyships are harder to shoot down with normal MG or rifle rounds. Skyships, especially, almost require explosive rounds or powerful incendiaries to destroy.
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Guns on the airship will likewise need keeping warm; I presume it has a warm-air heating system driven by the Elemental Furnace(s)?
Just so.
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Incidentally, the MK 108 is quite a low-velocity weapon, so it isn't powerful in that sense. However, its shells have a lot of explosive.
Yep, it's the best anti-skyship weapon they have.
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:13 AM   #370
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Default Re: Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger Flak Defences

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The ground level threat is more probable, but, on the other hand, any aerial threats would be the kind that might call for firepower above 7.92x57mm Mauser.

. . . Skyships, especially, almost require explosive rounds or powerful incendiaries to destroy.
OK, put the MG-FFs and the MK 108 on rooftops, at corners so that they can cover some directions with depressed fire. Tracer ammunition will be advantageous: it makes attackers try to dodge, which spoils their aim, as well as helping the gunners.

The easy way to keep the guns on roofs warm is to put them in collapsible huts which enclose them completely, and give them a warm-air shaft up through the roof. to keep the hut warm. It will require a few seconds to collapse the huts and free the guns to fire, but it's worth it. This assumes that alerts which may require firing the guns are fairly rare, but given the danger level of the opposition that is around, that seems likely. If they were getting attacked every day, the ASN position would be unsustainable.
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