Do any of the supplements include Mag-Howitzers?

wpngjstr

Mongoose
I was wondering if there were Magnetic accelerator versions of Howitzers in any of the supplements, given the railgun technology? It seems like it would be a logical development...
Some random ideas-

"After a particularly brutal battle in Birmingham, England, Angus "Black" Auchter, of the 57th Highland Raiders ran out of ammunition for his Charlemange's 200mm Railgun(As an aside I can't help feeling the railgun diameters are a little extreme; 400mm is the diameter of a Battleships main gun! (16" = 406mm)) . After examining the wreckage of the other units on the site, he could not find any , but in the wreckage of a Violator (which lost a head-butting competition with a 140mm ETC) was an almost full supply of of 200mm Howitzer ammunition. He set some of the units remaining personel to strip off the propellant and casings from the rounds, while he and his chief tech hacked into his fire control computer and power conduits. Realising the shells would never survive the normal launch speeds of a railgun, they set out to reduce the power feeds and hence lower the acceleration and muzzle velocity. After 3 hours he was able to leave with an armed WarMek once more and managed to provide a degree of fire support for his squad, before the field expedients shorted out his railgun. After the campaign a more professional software and modification package was put together for future use"

Game rules for the field expedient: 1/2 power requirements, increment 100m and cannot shoot further than 20 increments even in I.F., CANNOT fire nuclear rounds (Oops, we set off another round in the chamber...get another Mek) Accuracy -2, on an unmodified roll of 1 the round detonates in the rails, destroying the weapons location, and on a 2 or 3 the weapon stops working (short circuit, ammo jam, software glitch etc) until it can reach a repair shop. All damage and ammunition effects are as for a 200mm howitzer

Unfortunately, while the idea should work (while magnetic accelerators have a higher maximum speed they are not inherantly faster, and actually provide a more even acceleration), you end up with a very lightweight short range howitzer (about the same as a 75-105mm howitzer/mortar, something else I'd like to see in the game)- I think the disadvantages balance the field expedient well enough, but a professional design...

It might work better if the Railgun diameters were halved (100mm, 150mm, 200mm Railguns- no game effect) since a 400mm Railgun and a 200mm howitzer are similar in size and weight, as are a 155mm and a 300mm, but a 400mm railgun just sounds nasty... :)
Of course Mag-rail Howitzers might lead to dual use railguns; for double the cost and +1 Space and weight a railgun can be used either as normal or at 1/2 power as an equivalent Mass Driver howitzer (-1 accuracy)

All this is tossed out largely for random speculation
 

LoneStranger

Mongoose
I personally don't see it happening, yeah that's great as a one time emergency modification but not as a regular weapon. The very nature of a railgun means that if it was to be used as a howitzer you'd be shelling the next city from where you are (usually), at that point your better off using an airstrike.
 

wpngjstr

Mongoose
LoneStranger said:
I personally don't see it happening, yeah that's great as a one time emergency modification but not as a regular weapon. The very nature of a railgun means that if it was to be used as a howitzer you'd be shelling the next city from where you are (usually), at that point your better off using an airstrike.

I'm sorry, I don't really understand your comment. Railguns are not inherently faster than conventional guns, they can have any muzzle velocity the designer chooses be it 200m/s or 2000m/s.(Mag-Lev trains could be very exciting if that wasn't the case :) ) The main reason that magnetic accelerators are viewed as hypervelocity weapons is that they are not as limited by chemical propellants in their maximum velocity, so can fire a penetrator faster, increasing its range, accuracy and damage.
(A M1A1 Sabot round trtavels at around 2km/second, which pretty much tops out conventional munitions, while magnetic accelerators have been recorded at up to/over 8km/second)
As for shelling the next city, a 155mm can reach out 30km, which in some places will reach.
Incidentally Air strikes and artillery are not precisely interchangable- artillery tend to be more flexible and weather resistant, but air strikes can provide greater power and reach, but are more vulnerable and very dependant on weather (despite what the zipper suited zoom bags say about their "all-weather attack fighters")
 

LoneStranger

Mongoose
Well railguns acheive damage through sheer brute force, an explosive warhead would be more redunant at that point.

I will say that if you want to set that up in any game your in I personally won't stop you, I just don't see it the same way you do.
 

Lane Shutt

Mongoose
wpngjstr said:
I was wondering if there were Magnetic accelerator versions of Howitzers in any of the supplements, given the railgun technology? It seems like it would be a logical development...

--snip--

you end up with a very lightweight short range howitzer (about the same as a 75-105mm howitzer/mortar, something else I'd like to see in the game)- I think the disadvantages balance the field expedient well enough, but a professional design...

Once I have Soldiers Companion in hand, so I know what is available, I plan on designing light howitzers, mortars and magnetic accelerator howitzers.

One problem with MA howitzers is the EMP which would damage unshielded electronics in the detonators. Ammo would also have to be built specifically for the MA guns. OTOH they would be lighter since there is no need for propellant.
 
Lane Shutt said:
Once I have Soldiers Companion in hand, so I know what is available, I plan on designing light howitzers, mortars and magnetic accelerator howitzers.

Any word on this, Lane? I have a prelim idea for a 105 mm howitzer but I'm too slack to do mortars.

Does anyone know if one of the suppliments has towed artillery as opposed to the self propelled kind?
 

Lane Shutt

Mongoose
Real life has slowed progress a bit but I'm still working on ideas. On average I have had four days off per month. Last month three of those days were spent jumping out of airplanes, but it was for research, honest.

I have been working on rules for trailers, something mentioned in the flavor text of Armored Companies but lacked design rules. I'll try to type them up and post here for review. Those will be used as a basis for towed artillery. They will also allow design of transports to haul the larger Meks.

I'm also working on expanded rules for Airborne operations. These will include mass troop drops, HALO, HAHO and cargo drops. Supporting the rules will be aircraft design options and a method of determining how large the cargo can be. I will probably use the same load size rules for trailers.


I would be interested in seeing your ideas for the 105 mm howitzer. One problem I'm having with Mortars is balance. Since rockets can do the same job I need a reason to use mortars but they should not be overly powerful.
 
Howitzer, 105mm: Mass 8, Hardpoints 8, Power Points 3, IR signiture 15, Damage 2d6, Area 20m, Crit 19-20/x2, Ammo/ton 35, Ammo cost/ton $10 000, Range increment 150m, Type projectile, Projectile Structure Points 4, Inflammable Yes

Mostly thats a simple reversing of the changes between a 155mm and 200mm howitzer. The range increment is shorter since this weapon will most likely be used on smaller meks. I don't think they should be able to have the same range as the larger ones.

For the special ammunition I used half the 155mm version's area of effect. The APDS and HEAM shells deliberately don't follow the pattern set but the larger howitzers (two dice more than the standard shell). This is because it would mean the 105mm shells would do more damage than the 100mm cannon version. Note that gas shells hold 500 doses, at the cost of that to the cost in the table. All other rules are the same as the larger versions.


Code:
Type			Damage	Ammo/ton	Area of Effect	IR signiture	Cost
APDS			3d4		35			-					 15				 $10 000
Smart Mines	-		 10*		  15m				  15/25			 $200 000
Gas			 -		  22			50m				  15				 $10 000
HEAM			3d6		35			-					 15				 $10 000
Minefield		-		10*		  15m				  15				 $40 000
Reflective	-		  -			 -					 -				  +$5000/shell
Coating
Rocket			-		x0.5		 -					 -				  1/2 x normal
Assisted																			+ $10 000
SADARM		 1d6		10*		  40m				  10				 $400 000
SADRORD		1d6/1d4	8*		  40m				  10				 $1.2 mil

*I could also see changing all of the tens to twelve and the eight to nine. I erred on the side of caution.

As for morters I think they should be indirect fire only. That would relegate them to artillery use only and leave the assault meks useing rocket packs. Larger morters would still clash with the 230mm and particularly the 300mm rockets. The only real use for those is artillery.

[Edit] Formatting [/Edit]
[Edit 2] I hate formatting. [/Edit 2]
 

Sundog

Mongoose
Properly, no mortar can be used for direct fire, though howitzers can. Mortars have the advantage of having a bigger warhead for the size of the shell, as they require less armouring and a smaller boosting charge; they pay for it with lessened range and accuracy.
Also, I really can't see the purpose of a mag-howitzer. The only advantage a mag-cannon has over a conventional chemical gun is the higher muzzle velocity; in a howitzer configuration, you'd have to give that away unless you were intending to shell the next continent. A conventional round would be more efficient.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The mass for the howitzer ammo is already 30-50% less than real world ammo. IIRC the game stats are the same as real projectiles but advances could reduce both casing and propellant mass.

The tradeoff of a Mag-howitzer is propellant mass for power. Depending on your view of future technology a mag-howitzer may be lighter or heavier than a conventional howitzer so we can disregard range as an advantage. Assuming you have adequate power available the mag-howitzer becomes a viable alternative if ammo storage and mass are limiting factors. Logistics and safety also contribute to the decision. The lack of propellant means less chance of a magazine explosion and less material to transport for resupply.

In the real world the US Navy is researching mag-howitzers for use on future ships. Ammo storage would be about half the current requirement which means a ship could carry more shells. Resupply would be about half of current levels. By designing the ship with an electric drive you could divert propulsion power to weapons so the power requirement is covered. This allows you to increase weapon size to gain greater range. End result - a ship with more effective firepower and greater duration but safer.


Mortars have several advantages over the big guns. Ease of transportation, concealability, commanders access and lower damage potential are a few.
Consider the 60mm mortar, a two man team can carry the weapon and at least a half dozen rounds. Even a squad size patrol could have immediate, intermediate range indirect fire support. While the kill radius is a small fraction of a 155mm shell it could still take out massed troops or a supply convoy.
Surprisingly the smaller payload of mortar rounds can be an advantage. When you need to clear out a street intersection, an emplaced machine-gun or a single street you may not want to use a shell with a 30m kill radius. Collateral damage to structures or friendly troops near by may rule out a larger weapon.

Rockets have some overlap with mortars. Rockets have great indirect range but poor accuracy. They also have a direct fir capability. As a balance I would give mortars an intermediate range but higher accuracy, which is proving to be a slight problem. I would like to avoid special rules but howitzers and rockets already have different max range increments. I will probably go with max 20 increments for the mortar.

BTW while the comment about all mortar attacks being indirect is mostly true there are exceptions. The mortar can be fired at targets within LoS and if the range is known very accurately, this is essentially a direct fire but with a high angle of attack. There is also a case reported where a soldier fired a number of rounds, with almost flat trajectory, at pursuing enemy troops.

--
Lane
 

Voronesh

Mongoose
So yeah the advantage would be less propellant needed for shells, but on the other hand youd need more energy to power the weapon....but then again energy can be rerouted to power ECM or somesuch. Plus one could put the MAG-howie to crazy use by putting more power on the accelerator coils and get a decent if maybe sluggish direct fire weapon.....

hrm with the correct software one mag accelerated howitzer shell might be able to penetrate armor and give off a nice and big boom inside a warmeks armour.......


hrm nice idea, would have about the same effect as the bismarck did with the hood......simply hit their ammo storage, gives you more bang for the buck, as its their money being put to use. :D
 
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