He snorted in quiet amusement at the direction of his own thoughts. Then his head snapped up as a thunderous explosion rolled across the smoke-layered waters of White Sail Bay. One of the floating batteries still in action against the Charisian galleons had just disappeared in an enormous fireball, and flaming fragments traced lines of smoke across the sky as they arced outward.

“A spark in a magazine, I believe you said, Merlin,” Cayleb said harshly.

“Probably,” Merlin agreed sadly. “On the other hand, they still haven’t figured out how to produce corned powder. Even with bagged charges, the way their gunpowder tends to separate and throw out dust clouds is dangerous enough under any circumstances. Given what it has to be like aboard those batteries by this time . . . .”

He shook his head, and Cayleb nodded in agreement. Then he looked over his shoulder at Empress of Charis’ captain.

“Make a signal, Andrai. Instruct Admiral Nylz to temporarily disengage. That’s better than half their batteries gone, and even the ones still in action have to be in bad shape. Let’s give them a chance to think about the advantages of surrender before we kill any more of them.”

“Of course, Your Majesty.” Captain Gyrard said, and bowed to his monarch. Gyrard had been promoted to his present post after being wounded in action while serving as first lieutenant aboard Cayleb’s last flagship. He, too, had only too good an idea of what it must be like aboard those shattered batteries, and his expression made it obvious he agreed wholeheartedly with Cayleb’s decision as he nodded to his signal officer, who’d been standing by, waiting for instructions.

“You heard His Majesty. Make the signal to disengage.”

“Aye, aye, Sir.” The lieutenant touched his shoulder in salute, then began issuing orders of his own.

As the signal flags started to climb the halyards, Cayleb turned back to the still-rising column of smoke where the battery had exploded and grimaced.

“I could wish we’d been wrong about Hektor’s ingenuity,” he said. “If he’s managed to cobble up something like this to defend Dairos, what has he come up with for one of his major ports?”

“Probably more than we’d care to tangle with unless we absolutely have to,” Merlin replied.

“At least his logistics problems have to be more complex than ours, if only because of his ammunition problems, Your Majesty,” Captain Gyrard pointed out, and Cayleb grunted in agreement.

The Royal Charisian Navy had standardized the armament of its galleons long before it had become the Imperial Charisian Navy. Ships like Empress of Charis carried the newest artillery, which was actually a bit lighter than the guns Cayleb had taken to Armageddon Reef and Darcos Sound. Ehdwyrd Howsmyn and Baron Seamount had seen no choice before the previous year’s campaign but to use the existing kraken for their standard artillery piece. It had already been the closest thing to a standard heavy gun the Navy had boasted, so there’d been enough of them to give the fleet a useful initial stock, once Howsmyn had figured out how to add trunnions.

But although it had been the only practical choice, it hadn’t been the one Seamount had really wanted, for several reasons. The biggest one was that the “standard” kraken, unlike the larger and longer “great kraken,” or “royal kraken,” had been intended as a comparatively short-ranged, smashing weapon. Even with the new powder, its relatively short barrel length had reduced the velocity and range of its shot, with a corresponding drop in accuracy at longer ranges. In addition, when Howsmyn had reamed out the bores to standardize them and reduce windage, he’d had to go to a heavier weight of shot than Seamount had wanted. The baron had experimented with several different shot weights, trying to find the best balance between hitting power and the speed with which human muscles could load the weapons. Especially the sustained speed with which they could be loaded. Those experiments had suggested that reducing shot weight even slightly would help substantially, so he and Howsmyn had designed somewhat different models and adopted them once they began producing only newly cast weapons.

The new-model weapons had longer gun tubes, but they also had reduced bores, so they weighed no more than the older guns. The change hadn’t made much difference where the upper-deck carronades were concerned, but it had given the much longer and heavier main-deck guns greater muzzle velocity and striking power, despite the reduction in each shot’s weight by almost eight pounds.

The change had its downsides, of course. The most prominent one was that it had introduced at least some ammunition complications, since the older galleons still mounted their original converted krakens, whose ammunition was not interchangeable with the guns mounted aboard the newer vessels.

Compared to most navies, however, the Charisian Navy’s ammunition arrangements were simplicity itself. Howsmyn and Seamount had settled on a total of four “standard” long guns: the “new-model kraken” with its roughly thirty-pound shot, an eighteen-pounder, a fourteen-pounder (intended specifically for chase armaments, with an especially tight windage to enhance accuracy), and a ten-pounder (for the same role aboard lighter ships). Their carronade “stablemates” were a fifty-seven-pounder, a thirty-pounder, and an eighteen-pounder. That was an enormous improvement over the “old-model” artillery, which had included no less than fifteen “standard” long gun calibers. (Not to mention the fact that guns of nominally the same bore size frequently hadn’t been able to use the same round shot because different foundries’ “inches” had been a different length from one another before King Harahld’s draconian enforcement of the new official standards of measurement.)

They’d sought to further simplify things by decreeing that each individual ship must mount the same caliber of carronades and long guns, at least for broadside armament. They were willing to be a bit more flexible where the chase armament was concerned, but the fact that all of the broadside weapons fired identical projectiles made both the gunners’ and the purser’s lives ever so much easier. For the moment, at least. Personally, Merlin suspected it wasn’t going to be long before the neat “official establishment” began to leak. As more specialized galleon designs evolved and the differentiated frigate/cruiser and ship-of-the-line/battleship emerged, topweight considerations and designed combat roles were going to begin dictating a reversion to mixed armaments.

The Corisandians’ rush to improvise as many as possible of the “new-model” guns had left them in a far less enviable position, however, with no time to waste working out any sort of standardized table of naval ordnance. Their new guns appeared to come in no more than one or two calibers, but the conversions with the welded-on trunnions had pressed as many existing guns as possible into service. One of the floating batteries engaged against them in Dairos’ defense had obviously mounted at least three, and possibly four, different calibers, which must have created nightmares for the man responsible for getting the right size and weight of shot to each gun.

Which, unfortunately, Cayleb reflected, doesn’t keep those guns from being damnably effective when the gunners do get the right shot size.

“Your Majesty, we’ve just received a signal from General Chermyn.” Gyrard’s polite voice interrupted Cayleb’s thoughts, and the emperor turned to the flag captain.

“And what did the General have to say?” he asked.

“Brigadier Clareyk has reported by heliograph, Your Majesty. He has his entire brigade ashore, and the second wave of Brigadier Haimyn’s troops are landing now. Brigadier Clareyk estimates both brigades will be in their assigned positions within the next thirty to forty minutes. An hour at the outside, he says.”

“Good!” Cayleb’s tight expression lightened slightly.

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48 Responses to BY HERESIES DISTRESSED — Snippet 42

  1. Bret Hooper says:

    Hmm: I wonder where the assigned positions for Brigadier Clareyk’s brigades are? Obviously not the pass I thought they might attack; it has to be somewhere close to Dairos. No doubt they will be encouraging Dairos’ surrender.


  2. Alistair says:

    Thats around 5000 or so isn’t it?

  3. robert says:

    Ah! What do we now know? We know all about naval artillery and gunpowder issues. We know that 2 brigades of Charisian marines (or is it Chisholm army forces?) have landed. My guess is that they are somewhat northwest of Dairos, away from the floating forts. How many men in 2 brigades? Were we ever told? We have stopped listening in on Nahrmahn’s musings and are starting to learn the battle plan. Since the landings were apparently unopposed, then it would seem that Hektor has not gotten his forces over the mountains yet.

  4. evilauthor says:

    We know that Merlin is giving tech lessons in front of Nahrman…

  5. We also know that taking Manchyr by land is Cayleb’s and Merlin’s first choice.

  6. robert says:

    @4 All the tech in Nahrmahn’s hearing was the gunpowder stuff. The rest was the author telling us about artillery, stuff Nahrmahn already knows–he is on board the ship. The gunpowder differences are bound to be known by the Empire’s Director of Intel as well.

  7. robert says:

    @5 Yes, it appears that is the broad battle plan…so far. But again: how many men is 2 brigades? Is that the entire force? If not, then where are the rest of the 50k land forces? If so, then we know the broad plan, for certain.

  8. Karina says:

    The detail on the weapons differences wasn’t as interesting to me as the previous snippet. So, To continue a bit of last snippets conversation on Sharly stating to ask questions about subjects that the brotherhood don’t want to reveal: I’ve always thought that would happen during a tech briefing with one of Merlin’s ‘students’ such as that factory owner, that person is saying something about he’s stuck and absently wishes Merlin was there to ‘help out’.

    A conflict could arise if she suppects that there’s something that is being kept from her and she loses some trust in Maikel or the others.

  9. al says:

    I’m afraid that these last two snippets give you no idea what Cayleb’s plans are. He could be trying to secure a base but, this could also easily be a feint. Two brigades is a large enough force to secure the area either to allow the rest of the army to land or to destroy all communications after Cayleb is sure his attack has been reported. In the later instance he can re-embark once Merlin confirms that the enemy has committed to crossing the mountains. This would allow him to get between the capitol and the main army and to pick the terrain he wants to fight on.

  10. Jgnfld says:

    @7 A brigade is a bit loose, but I suspect mww is talking 5 to 10 thousand men. Possibly a few more.

    Who commands a brigade these days?? Why, a colonel of course!!!… surely not a brigadier general!

  11. Chuck S. says:

    I believe a colonel is supposed to command a regiment. Since regiments are disappearing from todays organization tables in favor of brigades, the colonels have moved up (actually sideways) to brigade command.

    The difference is that a regiment is a like arms formation. A regiment of infantry is usually four or five battalions, all infantry, though some (or all) may be mechanized, paratroops, mountain troops or other specialties. Artillery, tanks or air assets are attached as needed.

    A brigade is usually a mixed force from the ground up, rather than by attachment. The brigade I served with was two mech infantry battalions (detached from two different regiments), three troops of Calvary (armor), a troop of attack helos, a platoon of AA missile batteries and a short MP company. The Infantry battalions were mechanized and commanded by Lt. Colonels, the Brigade was commanded by a full (bird) colonel.

    The infantry battalions were also modified in that one company was built around mortar and anti-tank weapons teams and called a “Combat Support Company” instead of the traditional infantry “A”, “B” and so on. The HQ Company was beefed up by including an oversized motor pool and Supply organization.

    This is as of 1970-75. The Germans taught us the advantages of flexible unit structure with their tendency to build special purpose brigades, or even whole armies, out of what matched the job at hand during WW2.

  12. Maggie says:

    I just wonder if Rock Anvils’ really bright eldest boy has some surprises for our team…

  13. Peter Z says:

    @12 I wonder if Rock Anvil’s boy will end up as the new Prince of Corisande? After Hektor meets his fate will Irys stick around and marry the up-and-comming young fellow or will she bolt?

    Inquiring minds want to know.


  14. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Peter Z, I’ve wondered about that myself.

  15. Bill S. says:

    Do not confuse a modern brigade with the time frame/technology of the story. A U.S. Civil War infantry brigade was composed of typically 3-4 regiments (nominally 3-4,000 men) although as casualties reduced the size of the regiments additional regiments would be added. Eastern regiments were typically not reinforced with replacements (in any organized way) and new regiments were raised. Some Midwestern states provided replacements in an organized way which meant that regiments of Midwestern troops were highly prized in the Army of the Potomac.

    One additional thought, I have always been puzzled by authors (Weber/Flint) fascination with wire wrapping to reinforce cannon. The Parrot rifle used a cast iron barrel with a wrought iron band around the breech to reinforce the gun. A much simpler and cheaper alternative.

  16. Virgil says:

    The original Brigider Gen cam from the commander of a Brigade. It should be like this.
    Lt. and 2nd lt. platoon
    Captain company
    battalion lt. col
    regiments col
    Bridgade Bridgider Gen. this originally was not e gen.

    Majore were not considered line commanders but were in a staff position ususally for the lt. col and Col.s

    a brigade was a bastard outfit to start with and was made out of the lost remains of outh outfits. Usually the left overs from a bad fight. parts of divison tha could be gto back into shape yet for the next battle.

    but the size became very handy. Not a divison and lots more then a regiment

    I emember the Battalin as being 3 line company and a hq comanpany and 4 bat to a regiment. 5 regiment to a division with around 3 reg to a brigade. that was around. could be a company her and one there making it up.

    that was offthe top of my head, and not a bit accurate to days armies.

    Cal is doing about what I though, the 2 brigades are a flanking force. it would of takin 2- times longer if that to land his whole force what they did was land the men in best shape to be landes not at a port. MARINES! they are fklanking the port to give anothe line of attack when needed also to keep any quick moving people for NOT surrender from retreating to fight anothe day.

    No large enough to take a majr port by force of arms

  17. Virgil says:

    apologize for the spelling I can;t see my type when typing it to faint and small.

  18. robert says:

    Modern armies’ structures have little to do with what we are dealing with in BHD. I assume from the lack of on point specifics in the above comments that there was no mention of military organization and strengths in the previous book or prior snippets. I sure don’t remember any, but my memory ain’t great on details anymore (which is why I stopped doing software engineering and switched to reading/rereading). I take the 5-10K troops as a reasonable guess, and I also believe they represent an attempt to flank Dairos, but al’s comment @9 is a wonderfully sneaky possibility.

  19. bfticardi says:

    During the Napoleonic wars a regiment in the French army has 2-6 line battalions and a depot battalion (for logistics and training). Two regiments formed a brigade; two brigades formed a division. Each battalion had up to 800+ men, but more often 500-600 men.

    Other armies had larger battalions and less (down to two) per regiment.

    I’m using the Napoleonic example since the weapons and tactics for the Charisians would be more in line with that time period or later in my opinion. For example, I think they could organize and fight from columns whereas everyone else is probably thinking of marshalling for a battle in lines (because of pike tactics).

  20. E says:

    Hektor’s got a lot of rifles in production last it was mentioned in BSRA. They’ll be inferior to Charisian arms but if there’s enough of them then Hektor can still do quite a bit of damage. Since he’s army focused he’ll probably have had his generals work out good tactics for rifle lines by now. Cayleb’s going to have to take the city if he’s utilizing a nearby pass to get at Corisande’s capital since he can’t leave enemy batallions unneutralized at his back, but even if he plans on striking south from elsewhere the taking of this city would allow him to replenish supplies and capture intelligence.

  21. robert says:

    “Brigadier Clareyk has reported by heliograph…”

    So I forgot something else we learned. The Charisians are using a heliograph, which is good for point-to-point communication over line of sight distances of about 30 miles. This is probably a greater distance than the Church’s semaphore system can work at unless the arms or flags are gigantic.

  22. dcchipper says:

    In BSRA a Marine Brigade is a new orginzation 2 regimennts of 2 battalions. Strength 2200 including officers, corpmen, buglers and runners. Guns are listed as being in a 4 gun unit. I can’t tell if this a battery or a section. I suspect the former due the resources that artillery takes. Assumeing 1 battery per battalion that is 16 guns maybe 32 if it is a 4 gun section. The artilery is moved by draft dragons that are about the size of a elephant. I’m not sure if this means that you could get by with one per gun or if a second would be needed for a cassion and to support the gun crew. The text also says that they are using fixed ammo for their canister rounds which have 32 balls. Brigader is identefied as a new land rank between major and admiral.

  23. dcchipper says:

    2 things I didn’t mention the strength is before attacements probably includeing artiliry. The other is that the planed armerment for the marines is rifles. How far along the reequiping is the big question.

  24. Peter Z says:

    Robert, in addition the heliograph is more portable than the semiphore and so is more versatile on a tactical level. Poor Hektor, he faces superior technology, smarter opponents with a shorter communications loop. What does this poor SOB have but for sheer mass? Unfortunately, it does not appear to be a large enough mass to have a quality all its own, just large enough to be an easier target and a more voracious consumer of supplies.

    The only significant edge I saw for him prior to this snippet was the semiphore. Without it, all he can do is exact a stiff price for his head. Unless Cayleb screws up by the numbers, which is doubtful, this expedition is more an execution than a contested military campaign. I wonder if this sparked all the hullabaloo in the Honorverse about military porn?


  25. robert says:

    @21 Good points, Peter. I guess I missed the Honorverse hullabaloo you refer to. When was this and where was it played out?
    And operating the heliograph does not take a building on a mountain top. Just a guy aiming the mirrors.

  26. Peter Z says:

    It took place on Baen’s Bar on David Weber’s space named Honorverse. Its the Baen publishing website section for their authors. Fun place if you han’t visited.

    So, am I wrong, Robert? As I asked last snippet, what am I missing that will make this battle a close contest between two skillful opponents as opposed to either a blunderfest or an execution?


  27. Jerry says:

    I was surprised by just how far a heliograph can be used. Found below on the web. Clearly, for different than battlefield conditions, but still…

    183 miles, by Captain W.A. Glassford of the Signal Corps and his sergeants, between stations on the peaks of Mount Ellen, Utah, and Mount Uncompahgre, Colorado. September 17, 1894. (From the Dead Media Project.)

  28. robert says:

    @22 Peter, I can only think of terrain and numbers (of men and artillery). But those are negated by better intel (Merlin), communications (the heliograph), training/preparation, and strategy. Only Murphy can save Hektor. Or a fast horse and boat at the ready.

  29. Paul says:

    Anyone else wonder if Merlin had something to do with the Magazine going bang?

  30. Daryl says:

    @15 In regard to wire wrapping of guns it was used extensively by the British Navy in the early part of the 20th century. Actually worked well and the guns were accurate but was a bit disconcerting as a 15 inch Dreadnaught gun barrel drooped very slightly but straightened when fired.

  31. Richard says:

    What about calvary? Hecktor has an advantage in calvary.

  32. Peter Z says:

    How does Hektor get his cavalry through the Charisian cannon and rifles? He has nothing to keep them occupied. A flat out cavalry charge would be a repeat of the Light Brigade only without the follow through.

    Terrain is constant and hard to hide. Merlin missing terrain issues would be a mistake on a massive scale. The same goes for large numbers. Cayleb will know the numbers of all the troops they plan to face. Those numbers won’t be a surprise. Engaging an enemy too large to defeat is another blunder.

    How can this battle be anything other than a cake walk or an act of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? If the former, we won’t see much of the battle. If the latter, where will the gaff come from? What won’t happen is lovingly written prose depicting a one sided massacre. Since we have waited to witness Hektor’s commuppance, that would be serious let down.


  33. robert says:

    @31 OK, Richard. You know what we don’t. Calvary is an advantage over relatively even and open terrain, but not mountains or river crossings. Nor against massed cannon.
    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volley’d and thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro’ the jaws of Death
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of Hektor’s mounted troops.

    Apologies to the ghost of Tennyson.

  34. robert says:

    @32 Yes Peter. I seem to agree with you. Only a biiiig mistake, Murphy or a big lack of ruthlessness can alter the outcome. Whether Hektor survives or not is still in question. But his army cannot.

  35. Peter Z says:

    I know you seem to agree, Robert. The point I didn’t express very well is that unless the big battle depicts Cayleb and Merlin un-snafuing a rat’s nest of an engagement, we won’t see much of the battle for the above reasons. I would rather see a well contested battle instead.


  36. John Samford says:

    A platoon is 40 riflemen (Pg 354 OAR) plus a Plt Sgt and Lt.
    If it’s a triangle formation (built by 3’s on the 2 up 1 back principal)
    Then it’s 120 Rifles per Company, 360 to a Battalion, 1080 to a Regiment.
    If it’s square formation (built by 4’s to operate in pairs) then it’s 160, 640 and 2560. Riflemen only. Clerks, Sargants, and various support positions are not included.
    Brigades can be what ever you want them to be. As a rule of thumb, there should be at least two regiment, although the US Army was talking about getting rid of Regiments a few years back, I think that miserable idea got squashed by Rummy. The US Armies Combat Command system of WW2 was actually the Ultimate brigade, although they were never called brigades.
    The two Regiment bar comes from the fact that a triangle Division has 3 Regiments, so a Brigade in the ideal world, should be smaller then a division. A single Regiment with extra units attached would be a Regiment Plus, or a battle group, depending on what the uniform they wore was.
    Firguring they arty needs support, it would be attached to a brigade. Depending on how the arty was orgainzed, it could double the number of men involved. So a seat of the pants WAG would be between 4,000 and 8,000 bodies. AKA ‘Ration Strength’.

  37. Chuck S. says:

    Good communication and logistics are fine until the battle. Then some poor grunt has to go into the battle sight and root out the enemy. If he’s smart enough (after the first bloody nose Hector should be) to use close terrain like cities his numbers WILL give him a shoit at running Caleb out of troops. If the city doesn’t surrender and Hector gets serious numbers of troops in there to defend it, you’ll get your battle. Don’t forget, the Germans had all the same advantages in control, communications and weapons at Stalingrad too.

    If Caleb has 40-50 thousand against Hector’s ability to levee to maintain at least four times that, the advantaged Caleb has can only even up the odds in an open field battle. Caleb does not have quickly available replacements. Deduct 5,000 from each side five times and what do the odds look like a few battles down the road? If Hector doesn’t either run or loose his army’s confidence, this is not a walkover situation.

    It will be interesting to see how well DW handles this.


  38. RobertHuntingdon says:

    PZ, from what I understand, we will see quite a bit of a at least the Dark Hills battle. At least according to the spoilers from the guy with the ARC. While I agree that the outcome is foreordained (I mean, it has to be, this isn’t exactly Disney but we do know that the good guys are going to win in the end) I’m pretty sure the MWW will find a way to make it believable and interesting.

    I think part of that way will be the advantages of the rifles vs. muskets. Because I’m pretty sure that in theory I was right (a snippet or two ago) about the initial accuracy of the Charisian weapons. But the other guy may have been part right as well, because the gunsmoke effect will cause a major degradation of at least accuracy and possibly fire rate as well. His numbers were still way off, of course. 1% or so was at least closer to realistic in the civil war because two-thirds or more of the men were deliberately NOT aiming at the enemy because they hadn’t been mentally conditioned by “proper” training to ignore the enemy man’s humanity, but this isn’t the civil war and Charis has already been using wood cutouts and even straw men to condition their men to see the enemy as objects to be executed rather than men to sympathize. So I still think they will get at least 20% overall accuracy and probably more like 40%. Even deep into the battle with the air thick with clogging gunsmoke I still think they’ll at least get 5% accuracy, which will be enough if they are continuing to fire rapidly against an enemy that can’t fully respond in kind. And that will be especially true if the Corisandian training has NOT been as good at conditioning them to see the enemy as inhuman objects to be slaughtered. And given that they were using water-filled wood barrels to fire at with their guns, that may very well be the case. Most likely the majority of the Corisandian troops are just trying to defend their homes and their prince, not burning with white-hot passion to “kill the heretics”, and I think when it comes right down to it that lack of conditioning will become a major part of the battle as well. Yet one more advantage to Charis’ side. Add it all up and Charis will win (but we knew that already).

    But at the same time this won’t be “military porn” because there will still be Charisian casualties. Probably less of them, and probably a lot less fatal ones. The pattern was established in the Honorverse “back in the day” and I doubt it will change now. Charis is, at least for now, the “good guys” and they have a significant tech advantage to offset the enemy’s numerical superiority, so while they WILL lose people and Cayleb will no doubt end up grieving for a friend or two who buy the farm (maybe Brigadier Claryk?) we also know that Charis has to win this round or they have no chance in the long-run. And so they will.

    And robert, the “military porn” mess was Weber’s way of describing the idea of writing a book where none of the “good guys” ever die and only the “bad guys” do. A rather apropos metaphor actually, if more than a bit disturbing.


  39. 1% of the rounds hit in the ACW, because that was a weapons limit under field conditions. The actual percentage hits has plummeted since then, to almost zero under modern conditions.

    If Hektor has very recently changed over weapons, he is going to have far worse challenges, at least with real world constraints.

  40. Peter Z says:

    @36 Thank you, Chuck. I can see where close terrain would reduce most of Cayleb’s advantages. What I can’t see is a situation where Cayleb needed to fight under those conditions (barring major mistakes). Cayleb wins if Hektor forts up. The Corisandian nobility will be free to negotiate with Cayleb to normalize relations and commence commerce once again. One can even argue that Cayleb won ‘bloodlessly’ thus adding to his military/political acumen. The Dark hills engagement is likely going to occur with smaller forces not with the main force.

    @37 Robert, I tend to agree with you concerning training though I think you are overstating the potential accuracy of muzzle loading rifles. There are too many interveneing steps between each firing. In this case muscle memory is NOT the primary determinant of accuracy, as opposed to bolt action magazine fed WW I&II weapons or even sigle shot bolt actions of the ACW. The act of aiming will be crucial.

    If one thinks about it, a siluette of a man 200 yards away isn’t very big (about as tall as the diameter of the bulls eys on a paper target) and much smaller in surface area. The siluette is also not moving or firing back regardless of accuracy. Neither does the marine have time to asses the accuracy of his shots; no feedback no ability to correct. So even during the initial volley where muscle memory has not even begun to manifest yet and the mind is still filled with all sorts of worries will not be as accurate as you suspect. The follow on shots can’t be corrected individually so any mistaken assumptions of aim points on the first volley may well be repeated as muscle memory does kick in.

    So, yes 1 hit per ~200 shots is believable for ACW weapons. Poorer accuracy is also believable for this upcomming battle using even less percise weapons. The good news is Hektor’s accuracy will be poorer still and an engagement in the Dark Hills will emphasize Charisian training.


  41. Richard says:

    Calvary used for hit and run raids on supply lines, and slow the infantry. Infantry can’t march when they have to form a defencive square. The calvary just needs to sit just out of range to keep the infantry from marching.

  42. Peter Z says:

    Charisian field artillery has a theoretical range of about 3 km. Cavalry just lollygagging about within that range would be nice target practice. Hit and run raids depend on intel and scouts. A screen of skirmishers ought to keep the cavalry scouts far enough away from the main body to make raids a chancy thing. They could work and could cost you the entire raiding unit depending on what the scouts missed. Also, breaking up Hektor’s cavalry into piecemeal raiding forces reduces his ability to break the main Charisian formation in battle.

    His guns and artillery aren’t good enough to shatter Cayleb’s force and he knows it. Heck, they aren’t good enough to shatter his own force. If he suspects that Charisian weapons are comparable to his own, he SHOULD feel confident because he does have cavalry advantage to complete what his guns and artillery would have started. All of which suggests that raiders won’t turn the tide that will wash Hektor out to sea.


  43. robert says:

    Some points:
    Forting up in cities. If the Corisandans want their towns and cities wrecked by artillery, they will get them wrecked by Cayleb’s guns. For example, look at what happened to Richmond in the Civil War endgame when the South tried to fort up there. The German successes in the early days of WWII depended on moving fast (blitzkrieg) and not getting bogged down in street fighting. When they allowed themselves, for political reasons (or megalomaniacal reasons) to get bogged down in the East, the weather and a determined “at all cost” defense caused their defeat. Are the Corisandans as ruthless as Stalin was? Depends on Cayleb’s terms, I guess.
    @40 Richard’s comment may or may not be based on his ARC knowledge. He may just be playing devil’s advocate to stimulate the conversation. We don’t know what the Crossing is: where a river needs to be crossed or some roads come together in a village/town/farm, or a mountain pass. So the issue of calvary is still moot–and who says that Hektor has a lot of calvary? I missed that read.
    Hektor’s troops have not had the experience of seeing the weapons that will be used against them. They may not even have any experience of actual warfare–where did they actually go into battle last? Their morale may be shattered by even a 1% rate of kill. And they must be thinking of what happened to their fleet.

  44. robert says:

    One more item. While the map of Safehold is incomplete (according to DW), most of the major cities in the South of Corisande seem to be on bays. Using Dairos as an example, once the defensive floating forts are destroyed, couldn’t the cities be pounded to ruin from shipboard batteries as was done to Ferayd? We do not know if Cayleb’s strategy is to conquer Corisande and make it part of the Empire, or to make it a totally wrecked, economically ruined, ineffective, non-player in his war against the Church.

  45. Peter Z says:

    @43 Robert, no matter how wrecked Corisande is made to be, it will always pose a threat to the Charisian Empire. Lots of people sitting on an island smack dab between your two capitals. The poorer they become the more they will revert to anarchy and the more expensive they will make any trade within the empire. No, Cayleb must subjugate Corisande. If he uses the heavy hand and iron shod heel, eventually Corisande WILL cause him monumental problems. If he incorporates it relatively peacefully, that certainty is reduced to a much smaller possibility. The safest thing to do would be to use a moderately benign hand after conquest. The most dangerous thing would be to wreck it.


  46. jgnfld says:

    @several comments: 200 yards into a man-sized area is a pretty easy shot for a rifled gun even without great sights. The potential error to cause a casualty averages about 25-30 minutes of angle vertically and around 8-10 MOA horizontally. That’s a BIG bullseye. Not every shot is going to hit, but any squad is going to knock down a target at that range.

    This is why offensive (as opposed to defensive) artillery was quite vulnerable in the civil war: the men could be driven away from the relatively short ranged pieces of the time if they were in the open at all.

    Now knocking down a line that vastly outnumbers you is going to be harder, but any Charisan group should be able to take on a group at least twice its size relatively safely even in a completely openfield confrontation (which would be silly to set up, of course). Using tactical retreats in an aggressive manner on proper ground would probably allow taking on forces 3 or even 4 or more times their own size–especially as no offensive artillery could be used against them at all, likely, or maybe just one shot from initial positions.

  47. robert says:

    We know that Cayleb and Merlin will be ashore with the troops, even if not actually participating in the fighting. Merlin will be gathering intel from his SNARKs and Cayleb will be directing the war. What will Nahrmahn be doing? Will he be ashore? Will he be analyzing Merlin’s reports? Any thoughts out there in comment land?

    @45 Peter, I sorta agree with you, but I am not convinced. That is because we don’t really know how loyal the earls and barons are to Hektor, nor do we know Cayleb’s plans for any of the surviving members of the Royal family. And what are the details of the agreement that Cayleb reached with Zebediah?

  48. Ken Valentine says:

    @41, Closed columns are quite effective against cavalry, and they can move as fast as attack columns. They can’t redeploy into line quite as fast as attack columns can. For that matter, squares aren’t necessarily slow. During the 1812 Russian campaign, the Russian 25th Division was caught by most of the French reserve cavalry under Murat, and they escaped by forming divisional square and marching several miles in that formation (traversing a stone wall at one point). Murat kept charging with his cavalry rather than pulling them back and letting the horse artillery shred the Russian formation. The French army in Egypt also used divisional “marching squares” effectively against the Mamelukes.

    Remember too, that most cavalry will be good for only 2-3 charges during a single day of battle due to exhaustion of the horses, and then they’ll have to be rested a day or two before they will be totally fresh again.

    Ken V.

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