Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 47

Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 47

“But –” Ironhill began, only to close his mouth again as Cayleb raised his hand.

“I understand both viewpoints, Ahlvyno, and I’m sympathetic to both. Unfortunately, the best we can manage in this case is a compromise no one’s going to like. We’ll talk about it — let Ehdwyrd, Ahlfryd, Domynyk, and Sir Dustyn discuss exactly how they need to balance expansion and present output — and do our very best to meet those numbers, but we have to continue to expand. I hate to say it, but even if we lose more — or all — of Siddarmark, we’ll still survive and still have a chance to win in the end as long as we can maintain and increase our qualitative edge. But however good our quality, we have to be able to produce it in sufficient quantity, as well. So if it’s a choice between cutting current production to the bone over the next year or so, whatever problems that causes in Siddarmark, and not having the capacity we need two years from now, we’re going to have to opt for the future.”

Ironhill looked worried, but he recognized an unpalatable reality — and a final decision — when he saw them, and he nodded in understanding.

“All right,” Cayleb continued, turning back to Olyvyr and Howsmyn. “I think one place we’re going to have to make some hard choices is by reducing the number of new ships.” He shrugged his shoulders unhappily. “God knows we need as many as we can get, but at the moment we have effective superiority over every remaining ship the other side has, and we are going to have to shift emphasis to supporting land operations. So instead of a dozen, I want you to plan on only six, Sir Dustyn. At the same time, though, I want you and Captain Saigyl to begin thinking about ironclad riverboats.” He showed his teeth. “With any luck at all, we’re going to need them even more than we need the oceangoing variety.”

“Of course, Your Majesty,” Olyvyr replied. “No one saw Siddarmark coming, so we haven’t really considered it yet, but we’ll begin immediately. And while I hate postponing the blue-water ships, the idea of building a smaller group first has a certain appeal. It might not hurt to see how well our first experiments work out before we commit to building vast numbers of seagoing ships.”

“I’m glad you think so . . . even if I can’t quite escape the feeling that you’re looking hard for a bright side to look upon.”

“If you have to do it anyway, Your Majesty, you might as well see the upside as well as the downside.”

“That’s true enough,” Sharleyan agreed. “Although, personally, I think your ‘first experiments’ are going to turn out quite well, Sir Dustyn.”

“I hope so, and I actually believe you’re right, Your Grace . . . assuming Doctor Mahklyn’s newfangled numbers work out as well as everyone keeps assuming they will.” Olyvyr grimaced, and Sharleyan nodded gravely, although the truth was that Olyvyr had been initiated into the inner circle almost a year ago. He’d been using Rozhyr Mahklyn’s new formulas to calculate displacement and sail area even before that, and he’d been like a little boy in a toy store ever since he got access to Owl and started calculating things like stability, metacentric heights, prismatic coefficients, and a hundred other things which had always been rule-of-thumb — at best — before. He still had to do quite a lot of those calculations himself (or have Owl do that for him) rather than allowing his assistants to perform them, since the formulas — and concepts — hadn’t been officially “invented” yet, but he and Mahklyn were working hard to introduce the ideas. Within another year or so, at the outside, Charisian shipbuilders outside his own office would be starting to apply all those even more “newfangled” theories and rules, as well.

“In the end,” he continued, looking around the table, “and even before we started worrying about Ehdwyrd’s output numbers, it became obvious to Fhranklyn and me that we were going to have to go with composite construction, at least for the first blue-water class.” He twitched his shoulders. “It would simplify things enormously to go directly to all-iron construction, but we simply don’t have the output. So, we’ll be using cast-iron framing and deck beams, wooden planking, and steel plate from the Delthak Works for armor. Iron frames will give us enormously better longitudinal strength than we’ve ever had before, which is critical for the weights incorporated into these designs, and there are several other foundries here in Old Charis which can produce them while we leave the more complex aspects to Ehdwyrd’s artificers. Of course, I’m sure some of your captains are going to scream at the notion of ironwork, Domynyk,” he said, looking across the table at Rock Point. “In fact, I’m positive at least one of them is going to point out ‘But I can’t repair an iron deck beam at sea the way I could one made out of wood!'”

“Oh, I’m sure your number’s off, Dustyn.” Rock Point waved one hand dismissively. “I’ll be astonished if I hear that from less than a dozen of them!”

A laugh circled the table, and Olyvyr shook his head with a smile. Then he sobered.

“The river ironclads we can probably build with wooden frames if we have to, although it would help a lot to use iron framing for them, as well. They’d have to be a lot smaller, too, which is going to mean a lot of compromises. In particular, it’ll probably mean thinner armor, but they should be facing primarily field artillery or light naval guns, which will help a lot.

“The blue-water ships, on the other hand, are going to be the largest vessels ever built,” he said, looking around the table. “According to Doctor Mahklyn’s numbers, they’re going to come out at over five thousand tons displacement, not burden — better than three times our biggest war galleon. They’re going to be three hundred feet long, and they’ll draw around twenty-eight feet at normal load, which is the main reason Fhranklyn and Commander Malkaihy are already working with Ehdwyrd’s artificers on steam-powered dredges — we’re going to need them for some of our more critical ship channels as soon as we build anything bigger than this. The sheer weight and size of a rudder sized to something that big is going to pose problems, too. I’m not at all sure it could be handled using raw muscle power, so we’ve put quite a bit of effort into coming up with a hydraulic-assistance system for it. It’s going to require at least one small steam engine permanently on line to power it, but the fuel requirements for that engine will be very low, and there are other places where having steam available on that scale would be very useful. For one thing, in raising and lowering the screw. And we’ve designed the system so it can be disengaged in an emergency, although at that point you’re going to need at least eight to ten men on the wheel. That’s why the thing’s going to have a triple wheel — so they can all find a place to get a grip.”

Many of the heads around the table nodded at that. Even with the efficiency Howsmyn had been able to engineer into his “first-generation” steam engines, providing the internal fuel capacity for a steamship to obtain the kind of cruising distances required by the Imperial Charisian Navy would be difficult. It was over eight thousand miles from Tellesberg to Siddar City, for example, and that was far from the longest voyage a Charisian warship was likely to face, nor did it even consider the need to remain on station for extended periods, which was why the first generation of Charisian armored warships would be fully rigged for sail, as well. The truth was that they probably could have designed solely for steam power, but only at the cost of establishing chains of coaling stations along critical shipping lanes and in forward deployment areas. That would be far from impossible for them to do on an internal basis, for the separated islands of the Charisian Empire itself, but it would certainly be expensive, and they couldn’t afford to assume it would be equally feasible elsewhere.

“It would simplify things a great deal if we could leave the screw permanently in place,” Olyvyr continued, “but the more efficient it is for moving water, the greater the drag when it isn’t revolving. Fortunately, once Fhranklyn came up with a notion for indexing the shaft and locking it in place, it turned out to be a lot simpler than I expected to design a moving cradle to unlock the screw and raise it into the above water well.” He snorted. “Mind you, it would’ve been a lot harder if we hadn’t decided to go with hydraulic power for the rudder. Since we were doing that anyway, it only made sense to apply power to raising and lowering the screw, as well.” He shrugged, then grinned almost impishly. “I think we could still’ve done it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had required three or four hundred seamen — probably complaining at the top of their lungs the entire time — to do the same thing by muscle power.”

“Then I’d say it’s a good thing you didn’t do that, Sir Dustyn,” Sharleyan said with a smile. “I gather from what you’re saying that the amount of fuel required for this . . . auxiliary engine, I suppose we should call it, won’t have any significant impact on the designed cruising radius?”


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90 Responses to Midst Toil And Tribulation – Snippet 47

  1. Matthew says:

    Those six ships are going to revolutionize warfare on the planet.

    When they’re built the COGA will essentially be finished as any kind of a naval threat, this is beginning to get boring, where’s the catch?

    • JimHacker says:

      There are two options:
      1)Thirsk (or someone else on the CoGA side) gets inventive and comes up with something, if not as good, not made obselete by the latest invention
      2)The struggle becomes primarily land-oriented with the occasional nval cake-walk (perhaps to cheer us up after losses on land?)

    • Spktyr says:

      Six ships will revolutionize warfare, yes – but only where they’re present. As overwhelming a force as a single ironclad vessel is versus just about any number of wooden vessels, they will still only have six, and they can’t be everywhere. That said, I suspect Weber is going to be winding down the mass naval battles unless that oft hinted defector manages to get out way more info than should be possible.

      Or unless there’s also some really advanced weaponry left ‘just in case’ in the Temple.

      • JimHacker says:

        Which defector are you thinking of?
        I guess you’re thinking about Mahndrayn’s female cousin who worked for the ambassador to Siddarmark. But there is simply no way she could get acces to the information necessary for the Church to deploy its own steam-powered ironclads when the EoC does.

        • Spktyr says:

          I am thinking of the oft hinted ‘inner circle member who takes it very, very, very badly.’

          • JimHacker says:

            We’ve recieved hints of the possibility for the future. But I don’t think anyone believes such a person might be able to defect. In fact, most people seem to feel that ts more likely to be someone who wants to tell everyone the truth immediately rather than someone who will reject it. But either way, given Merlin’s precuations with the remotes I can’t see how anyone could possibly go over to the other side. And for them to then start equiping temple forces with their own ‘evl knowledge’ would be incredibly inconsistent on them.

            • Spktyr says:

              I’m thinking more along the lines of the late 19th century philosophy of “see, we have this tech that makes warfare so terrible that you really need to stop” and someone misguided enough (we still have those today) to think that releasing this information would cause the other side to back down.

    • Spktyr says:

      Also, those six will be the only six for quite a while to come, because the production facilities will then be cranking out riverine warfare craft. Which, if anything, should be far more interesting to watch – shallow draft, low freeboard ship (so no high angle fire) vs heavily armed cities and shore strongpoints. Probably going to be along the lines of the old City-class Union ironclads – hopefully with the more glaring faults rectified:


      The battles are necessarily going to transition to land, I think, except for some rather suicidal attempts by persons adopting the Islamic Fundamentalist Attack Protocols (charge suicidally and incompetently into opposing force trusting in God to help you strike down the infidels – usually doesn’t work too well) at sea. Though I suspect we’re going to be seeing suicide bombing ships laden with black powder before too long, at Clyntahn’s command – as that’s pretty much the only chance they have in a naval battle.

      • WP says:

        This make me think of another book – 1634: The Baltic War, by … er … a …. a … David Weber.

      • sq_rigger says:

        The biggest problem the ACW city-class ironclads had was the fact that they weren’t well controlled in reverse. This meant that they had problems attacking downstream since they couldn’t “hold station” by backing the paddlewheel without veering off unpredictably since the rudder, which was located behind the paddlewheel, depended on the wheel’s wash for much of its turning force. Modern vessels with propellors have similar problems operating in reverse, although multi-screw vessels can manage some maneuverability by backing the screws at different RPMs. It takes bow and stern thrusters or a jet drive (both at least two generations down the road) for a vessel to be fully maneuverable when backing down (as is necessary to to hold position when facing downstream in a current).

        • Spktyr says:

          Or dual paddlewheel.

          • Doug Lampert says:

            Armoring paddlewheels was normally considered prohibatively difficult.

            I’m pretty sure it was done a few times, but there were reasons it didn’t catch on.

            • Spktyr says:

              For oceangoing vessels that was a problem, but there were more than a couple of ACW riverine ironclads that had their single or dual wheels inside the casemate armor.

              • MCT says:

                But I think they just decided that using a screw is easier and relatively better in terms of speed and fuel consumption. A paddlewheel still causes quite a bit of drag, so alot of the force use to turn the wheel is also used to offset the amount of drag the wheel introduces in order to propel the ship fowards, and a paddlewheel is ridiculously large compared to a screw in terms of the speed they can reach. Besides not having to armor up a paddlewheel and adding extra weight by put a screw below water seem obvious, however I’m pretty sure it took a bit of thinking to make a screw work under water, I’ve been thinking how do you put moving parts below water without making a hole that would leak water into the ship?
                And Housman and Oliver are making a screw engine that can be lifted up into the ship, that’s SOME crazy engineering there…

              • Allan G says:

                Lifting screw props were quite common as it lets you eliminate the drag of the prop under sail. It went out of fashion with fully rigged ships and the development of commercial coaling stations round the world. Folding or fully feathering props are other options currently used for ships with mixed power.

          • Allan G says:

            Or Jet propulsion – a centrifugal pump would work too and the design would be useful for other purposes.

    • Nimitz13 says:

      WHOO HOO! We’re getting ironclad riverboats just when they’re desperately needed in Siddarmark. Forget the six blue water battleships, it’s the ironclads that are going to make a difference in this book.

      In a war of LOGISTICS, getting an ironclad or two into the canals and rivers near Dairnyth and Traymos effectively ends the use of canals for the bad guys “liberating” Siddarmark. Those ships need to have guns that can out-range the church’s artillery, and they need to make sure they can’t be boarded and swarmed under, but they’ll absolutely control the canals in Siddarmark – until it freezes, when they’ll all have to go to the southern theater, Dairnyth, Alykberg, and Thesmar. Maybe Fort Darymahn and the Taigyn river to clear out any support barges the CoGA is already using – after all, Fort Taigyn may appear on the map for a reason…

      They’ll certainly be useful in Glacierheart, where there are lakes that ensure the enemy can’t swarm them, but they can capture every enemy barge. Same if they take East and West Wing lakes and Lake City east of Traymos in Tarikah Province. That would prevent the Holy Langhorne canal from being used to supply the AoG, and without it they’re doomed since it’s the route practically ALL the supplies from the Border States have to use.

      Half a dozen ironclad riverboats can practically end the northern advance of the AoG, another can stop the thrust into Glacierheart, and two or three more can shut down all resupply by canal from Dohlar, by sea from any port on the Gulf of Dohlar or by anyone stupid enough to attempt to defy the ICN in the Gulf of Mathyas. Bleek!

      • MCT says:

        I think controling river access is the best way to slow and hinder Gof4 armies, it still won’t stop them, they’ll just use land routes, I mean the armies are forced to march, I don’t them going, “oh no, they control the rivers, we’ll have to go home now”. Chances though, it’ll help EoC and Sidemarkian army logistics a lot, still river ironclads aren’t going to be in action for at least another year? Since only now they’re starting to consider building them, they’ve have to find the money first, the EoC is pretty strapped for cash at the moment, and they’re already having problems trying to finance the 6 blue water ironclads according to Ironhill the finance minister.

        • JimHacker says:

          Actually, you may be surprised just how limited land marches are. You can only travel as far as you can tranport supplies from your canalhead/beachhead/railhead. Using horses this is only a few hundred miles. Using dragons (according to weber) its easily several hundred miles and might be pushed into thousands. But its a whole continent and the limitations are still there. Especially if you can’t find enough draft animals to do all that transporting.

  2. sensei says:

    one factor which i have considered to be a bit unrealistic is the speed at which the COGA has adopted some of the Charisian innovations. i realize that military improvements are among the quickest to be adopted, but there is more to copying a explosive shell than just theoretical knowledge of how one is constructed. you have to figure out HOW to make them and you need to train the people who are making them. you have to obtain materiel, storage, distribution, training the seamen and soldiers who are going to be using them. all this from a culture which has discouraged change for hundreds of years. and the more advanced the development – steam engines and steel ships, for example, the more the lack of infrastructure should hurt COGA’s ability to keep up with Charis.

    • BobG says:

      I have to agree with you. One thing that is rarely considered is the rate at which new concepts are adopted, and the inertia/resistance to change, especially on Safehold. Even the CoGA saying “do it the new way” is so counter-intuitive that people would find it hard to follow suit, a.k.a. passive resistance and missunderstanding.

      • JimHacker says:

        Resistance to big ideas is generally top down, resistance to ‘small’ ideas or changes inmethod are generally resisted bottom up. Once the higher-up decides to make galleons instead of galleys and the stick lots of cannons on them, its generally pretty easy. The craftsmen use the techniques they always used to to make the new big idea. The difficulty in that is convincing the higher-up, and i think Charis did that already (both internally, and then externally when they pounded everyone else into scrap), for that idea at least. You get bottom-up inertia when you try to change how things are produced or done. The church isn’t going to run into problems with this so much in the entirely new stuff Charis introduced. There’s no ‘but my grandfather did it X way and that’s good enough for me’ beccause no-one’s grandfather was doing it. So things like making exploding shells probably won’t be the big problem. The big problem will be improving mining, refining an casting techniques which have been in use for centuries but aren’t on the scale or quality that the Church now needs.

        • Spktyr says:

          I think their big problems with production-class resistance will come when they try to get their armies of artisans to embrace assembly-line techniques (once the Church finds out about them.)

          • JimHacker says:

            That’ll be the biggest one. But at least with assembly lines you can hire relatively unskilled workers and train them to do just the one specific task in relatively short time if the skilled workers are uncoperative. In many ways, the bigger problem will be in trying to force standard units, new methods, etc on the artisans where an assembly line isn’t suitable.

  3. sensei says:

    one factor which i have considered to be a bit unrealistic is the speed at which the COGA has adopted some of the Charisian innovations. i realize that military improvements are among the quickest to be adopted, but there is more to copying a explosive shell than just theoretical or even actual, knowledge of how one is constructed. you have to figure out HOW to make them and you need to train the people who are making them. you have to obtain materiel, storage, distribution, training the seamen and soldiers who are going to be using them. all this from a culture which has discouraged change for hundreds of years. and the more advanced the development – steam engines and steel ships, for example, the more the lack of infrastructure should hurt COGA’s ability to keep up with Charis.

  4. sensei says:

    one factor which i have considered to be a bit unrealistic is the speed at which the COGA has adopted some of the Charisian innovations. i realize that military improvements are among the quickest to be adopted, but there is more to copying a explosive shell than just theoretical or even actual, knowledge of how one is constructed. you have to figure out HOW to make them and you need to train the people who are making them. you have to obtain materiel, storage, distribution, training the seamen and soldiers who are going to be using them. all this from a culture which has discouraged change for hundreds of years. and the more advanced the development – steam engines and steel ships, for example, the more the lack of infrastructure and experience – no OWL here – should hurt COGA’s ability to keep up with Charis.

  5. Cobbler says:

    Not that I’ve ever designed a ship in my life, but…

    If I were making a hybrid hull with an iron frame, I’d build flanges into the ribs and beams. Something to hold a wooden replacement beam or rib. Broken rib? Make one of out of stored wood. (Or harvest a local trees, if you are careened on shore.) Bolt the rib securely to the intact sections of iron rib/beam. Brace as necessary. Refasten the strakes.

    That would be enough to get the ship home. Perhaps enough to complete the mission.

  6. dave o says:

    I’m not sure cast iron is a good material to make a ship’s frame. It’s brittle, and a strong enough shock could break it. Wrought iron or even mild steel would be much better, although more expensive.

    • JimHacker says:

      You’re right, but we’ve already been told how diificult they’re finding to increase wrought iron and steel production to true industrial scale. Building something the size of a ship uses a lot of metal, evenif its just for the frame. I’ve no doubt that they’d like to use steel, its just that they can’t for the moment.

  7. George Phillies says:

    I seem to recall someone being told not to invent long-range rifled naval guns with explosive shells or armour-piercing shells. For some reason, no one has told Thirsk not to do this, but he seems to have heard about all the pieces needed to do so.

    • BobG says:

      He will have to make them out of wrought iron, which is extremely expensive in non-Charisian forges, and still prone to enough inconsistencies in the production to assure failures in the rifles. And I doubt there are any forges with large enough equipment to handle rifling such cannon in any case.

  8. George Phillies says:

    Six invincible warships will do about zero for convoy protection.

    • JimHacker says:

      I agree that they won’t do much, but they’ll likely have at least a small effect. The fact that they aren’t reliant on wind is likelyto help them catch out enemy captains who think they’ve positioned themselves so that interception is impossible. And once people get to know about them they’re bound to scare off at least some of those who aren’t especially braveout of the raiding business. They’ll have a small effect, but it won’t be zero.

      On the other hand, perhaps they will have a long-term effect. They are effectively prototypes, an ultimately the introduction of iron-hulled steamers is going to change the commerce raiding calculus.

      • BobG says:

        Can they survive an attempt by dozens of CoGA ships to ram? Can they survive mines, or grounding by hidden enemy sunken ships? I’m not so sure they are invulnerable, just terrifying and extremely effective.

      • Adam says:

        The Ironclads will be most likely used in the offense role. With only 6 they cant be everywhere but they can raid even heavily fortified harbors with impudence. Smash Thirsks fleet and then just go from coastal city to coastal city tearing up their industry.

        • JimHacker says:

          I agree that they’re most likely to be used offensively. I believe that George’s point however was that building these six ships is a waste of resources – and he does have a decent point (that i was rebutting). George’s point (correct me if i’m wrong george) is basically that Thirsk’s fleet isn’t a threat to Charis. The ICN can smash Thirsk’s fleet at its convenience. These new ships would decrease the ICN’s losses doing that, but then what would they do? Currently the greatest naval threat to Charis isn’t the prospect of defeat at sea but commerce raiding. Charis doesn’t need a few incredible battleships, it needs lots and lots of escorts/scouts/destroyers. Given that Charis has limited resources, this project is not going to materially help Charis as much as its going to cost. In the short term, its cost-benefit ratio is poor.

          George has a very good point but I was attempting to introduce the couner-point, ie that while the material advantage of these 6 ships will be negligible and at great cost they may well have longer term benefits in advancing naval technology.

          • Aaron says:

            The point of these new ships is that they displace 5000 tons and are 3 times larger than the other ICN galley’s. This means that if these ships were used solely for logistics support. They are worth the investement, especially when you consider that the merchant houses are going to sit up and take notice at the sudden increase in capacity and decrease in cost per ton to transport goods. Also if these ships have cast iron or steel masts they will be able to carry much more sail and in much worse weather than other ships the ICN has. Also when the sea is becalmed they can run on their steam engines. Meaning that these ships will be able to transport goods over distance at speeds that nothing else can match. As has already been discussed the land war is about logistics.

            • JimHacker says:

              as i’m playing devil’s advocate, i’ll now switch to George’s side and argue that they won’t be that useful. Your points in turn:
              1) these aren’t going to be supply ships, they’re going to be heavily armed and armoured. They’re certainly warships. Furthermore, given their radically different requirements they are going to massively complicate logistics, not make them easier. And as there are only 6, all that added logistics complexity isn’t going to get yuo all that much extra ship.
              2) They aren’t goin to ahve much positive effect on trade – at least for quite a while. Charis already has lots and lots of cargo galleons. They just have no-one to trade with. And all those soon to be obsolete war galleons may well glut the civilian market. New iron steamer cargo ships may be more efficent/faster but the capital investment and trained manpower required is going to leave sail galleons by far the better option for a good while.

    • MTO says:

      Agreed, but the rest of the ECN won’t disappear overnight. Their current wood ships will be in use until one of 3 events:
      1) They get lost in the usual manners (age, battle, weather)
      2) COGA deploys ironclads
      3) ECN builds enough ironclads to replace them.

  9. Frank says:

    We seem to be forgetting the psychological effect these ships are going to have on the Temple faithful. Six of these monsters steaming into Gorath Bay, at the head of an expeditionary force, laying waste to the entire area will do more to strike fear into the hearts of the population than any propoganda campaign yet imagined. And it will be that terror that will cast doubts into the mind of every soldier taking the field in battle and every sailor boarding a ship.

    • Nimitz13 says:

      I certainly HOPE so. Gorath NEEDS to be leveled as quickly as possible and the king of Dohlar hung like a common criminal for turning over the Charisian POWs to the Inquisition. The EoC needs to do this NOW, before some of their troops are captured in Siddarmark, so that the AoG and every other army involved understands the scorched-earth policy that will be used against ANYONE who mistreats EoC POWs. (And that the RULER of any country that does will pay the ultimate price.)

      Getting rid of Thirsk and the possible commerce raiding his fleet represents is useful of course, but the lesson on the consequences of mistreating men who have surrendered honorably is more important and has wider implications for the land war.

      (Mandatory Bleek!)

      • Spktyr says:

        Not to mention the psychological impact of such things being used. “You have offended us so much that we invented *an entirely new technology and weapons platform* to come and express our displeasure at little chance of loss to ourselves.” And to others: “This is what we do to people that do not fight honorably. Would you like to be next?”

        The psychological impact of something like that, as Nathan Bedford Forrest knew well, is far more important than the actual combat value. To say nothing of the human distaste and even fear of fighting a faceless machine.

      • JeffM says:

        I’ll point out that if Charis takes out Dohlar and knocks Desnair on it’s heels, reconsolodating Siddarmark would effectively isolate the southern continent from the Temple Lands–and open up markets there for Charisian goods. [Big Grin]

        • Nimitz13 says:

          I expect Desnair to be the first major nation to pull out of the war in Siddarmark.

          1) The vaunted Desnairan cavalry will be decimated, which will also eliminate a large number of the nobility who traditionally serve as cavalry.

          2) Although the Desnairan army is likely to have as many rifled muskets as any other in the CoGA force, it won’t have as many the ICA and RSA forces it will eventually face. At some point a decisive battle will leave it broken and ineffective.

          3) The supply lines from Desnair go overland up the isthmus until it reaches the north/south canal in mid-Silkiah, which emerges near Somyr lake which will be CRAWLING with ICN schooners and a galleon or three. I expect capturing Thesmar and the town of Somyr to be high on the EoC’s to-do list, effectively cutting off all supplies by land from the continent of Howard. When the inevitable ICN fleet arrives in the Gulf of Dohlar, no further resupply from Howard will be possible by land or sea.

          4) Unlike other kingdoms, Desnair isn’t in debt to the CoGA (as far as I know) due to its gold mines. So after bleeding enough, it can tell the CoGA to stuff it, Desnair won’t send any more men to die in a war they not only can’t win, but can’t even compete.

          5) The Inquisition will undoubtedly threaten the families of the nobility if Desnair pulls out of the war. This may become the SECOND nation where inquisitors are executed on sight. Bleek!

          6) Seeing the opportunity, Cayleb would likely agree to repatriate all Desnairan POWs in exchange for a non-aggression pact and a trade agreement. Desnair has no way to send troops or supplies to the war zone anyway, so the non-aggression pact would exist mostly to protect EoC shipping in Desnairan ports.

          7) South Harchong may declare war on Desnair for abandoning the faith. Desnair will need EoC trade to re-establish their economy and withstand the Harchongese aggressors.

  10. MCT says:

    At the moment, there is no need for Charisian Navy to worry about convoy protection, there isn’t any enemy navy ships on “this” side of the world to intercept any Charisian merchant galleon to and from Sidemark, the only real fleet left is Thirsk’s and his is on the other side of the continent in gulf of Dholar whereas Tarot is so close that any enemy fleet crossing the Taro Channel could be intercept by Admiral Whiteford’s ships long before they can pose a threat to the galleon convoy, and don’t forget there’s 2 squadron’s of Charisian war galleons escorting the convoy with doyzen of squadrons of schooners to provide early warning system, in essence the convoy has 4 lines of defense, owl’s snarcs, Admiral Whiteford’s pickets in Tarot Channel, the Schooners and last the war galleons, which are faster, better armed and Captained by experienced officers. Let’s not forget any convoy assault will be done at the end of a long supply line for the enemy whereas for Charis it’s within the backyard of the Empire considering the proximity of Tarot to Sidemark and there won’t be any ships coming from the Church by way from the North since Hsing-wu’s Passage above the Harchong Empire and Icewind Seas above Sidemark are basically frozen solid until late spring.

    I don’t know a thing about metal or ships, but based on what’s been said, these new war ships will be invincible against the current generation of God’s Navy Ships, since they’re still going to be using solid iron shots, depending on the angle of fire and the way it will impact on the Ironclad’s hull, at best it will dent the steel armor plating and cause the inner woodplank layer cracks which can be repaired, I doubt it will ever cause the castiron beam to bend or break, I would guess that the steel plating would stop most of the iron shot’s momentum and the wood would be flexible enough to provide additional stoping power without leaving much danger breaking the beams, i mean they’re pretty thick considering the fact that they’re ship beams not as think as the ones you see the construction people use in building skyscrappers but still probably as thick as a small melon which is about the size of the circumference of the cannons shooting the iron shots, considering the bore size compare to the outside layer of the cannon, I’d say it’ll be next to impossible to break any iron beams without using explosive shells, and they’d still have to get pass the steel plating which are alot tougher since they’re not brittle like iron and think of the wood as a small layer of spring that absorb a fraction of the impact force. Let’s not forget the Temple Lands still don’t have explosive shell technology, they will have explosive field artillery in spring, which means their navy won’t be getting them in a while considering the amount needed to arm a ship, that’s aproximately 50 pieces of cannons per war galleon just to match the fire power of the a Charisian Galleon. With the introdution of the Ironclads, the God’s Navy will essentially be 2 steps behind the naval arms race. We’re talking about a fully explosive shell armed ship, that’s 300 meters long, I assume since it’s stated that it’s three times the lenght?/size of a war galleon that it’ll have 3 times the length of a space to put exploding shell firing cannons onboard, that’s 150 guns, but let’s be realistic, i doubt they’ll have that kind of magazin space to provide and upkeep the fire rate of 150 guns that can fire once every 3-4 minutes. While they’re “only” building 6, essentially they’re using iron to build ships that will equal the length IF not and width of 18 tradition wooden hull galleons. That’s alot of iron, and consider the fact that they originally planned to build 12 ironclads, if converted to wooden hull ships, that’s 36 galleons.

    -Let’s also not forget that they will most likely employ a mix of Angle Gun and Shell firing cannons, unfortunately they still have to put up with the sail rigs so they won’t be able to take advantage of the extra space provide by the fact that the ships will be 3 times as long, I’m sure they will at least be able to put a dozen angle gun on the quarter deck and put 35-50 shell firing cannons on the gun deck in each broadside. I wish they’d completely get rid of the sails and go straight to turret style cannons, that way they’ll all be angle guns and can swivel, but they’ll have to be longer ranged, with bigger bore size that can fire bigger shells though…of course it won’t happen until the figure out how to breach load their cannons, hopefully Volcano’s Captain will figure it out, once he does, their ships will essentially be a World War 1/2 Cruiser or Destroyer at least. I don’t see why they haven’t implemented the same thing with from their new loading riffle to their cannons, the concept seem pretty straight foward, you would think they’d be at theorizing in how to do it if not experimenting already.

    • JimHacker says:

      You are misunderstanding the problem the rest of us are bringing up with convoys/commerce raiding. The point isn’t that the Go4 will send a fleet to hunt down Charis’s commerce. The worry is that they will finance privateers. If the Go4 were to operate schooners armed with a few cannon from the little fishing villages on the east desnairian coast they could really hit Charis where it hurts – in the wallet. They would have little problem staying supplied as they would be dispersed – also preventing any single decisive blow against them. It would force Charis to divert resources to anti-piracy operations and make them disperse their ships for escort duty. In fact, I believe we’ve seen hints of Duchairn and Magwair heading in this direction. When countering a commerce-raiding strategy, quantity becomes more important than quality.

      • MCT says:

        Even if they start financing privateers, they would still HAVE to get past the Tarot Channel and Whiteford’s picket ships, Tarot does have a navy even after they’ve lost so many ships, the fact that it’s a huge island mean more ship build capability, then Desnair, and it’ll will still take lots of time to build/financy/arm these privateers and then send them out to attack the EoC convoys. They’ll have to purpose build schooners for these privateers as well, and after the EoC privateers have gone out previous years to raid any ships that aren’t Charisian, I don’t see where they’ll find any number of ships capable of engaging in commerce warfare. Someone with exp of commanding a ship and doing it in battle don’t just sprout out of nowhere, I’m sure there’s pirates somewhere, but still EoC have tons of schooners scouting for the convoys and they have war galleon escorting those convoys, I’m fairly sure the convoys aren’t just spreading out to make themselves easy targets either, there’s just very little chance that even if the Gof4 start financing privateers that it’ll do anything to EoC’s wallet, in fact I think it’ll do more harm to the Gof4’s wallet than Charis’s… And even the merchant galleons are somewhat armed nowadays after what happen at Feyyard, we know for a fact that the merchants ships there were armed, I’m fairly certain after 6? years of active warfare, the Charisian merchants have figured out that it be a good idea to arm themselves aswell since a number of them were privateers themselves before now…

        Again, Gof4 privateers would have to find them first and then catch them, remember Charisian ships are still faster even if they’re merchants ships are copper hulled belown the water line and that their fat and slow, relatively they’re still pretty fast, while I have no doubt a privateer schooner could catch up to them, the Gof4 will have to build them first and train the crew, since we have yet seen the Gof4 navy employ schooners or mention building any thus far.

        • MCT says:

          opps! typo, I mean the Merchant ships Are NOT copper hulled below the water line.

          • MCT says:

            In effect, it will be months before they start financing, building the schooners, trainning the personel to man them and then making the cannons to arm them, that is if the Gof4 plan to do the heavy lifting and not just go, “here’s some money, you pirates get out there and attack those EoC convoys” if left to their own initiative, the privateers would take even LONGER, since everything will still mostly be paid from their pockets before the Gof4 see any progress from putting out the initial downpayment per say. I see no realistic way the Gof4 could pose any threat to the EoC convoy for at least 6 months, that’s well into summer if not fall, which Sidemark wouldn’t need as much convoys, and if everything goes well, they’ll have starting planting and getting close to harvest some agriculture already…by that time, Cayleb’s fleet would be in the area too…

            So the chances of privateers attacking EoC convoys is possible but unlikely.
            Chance of privateer activity hurting EoC’s wallets is minimal at BEST.
            Chance of privateer surviving any engagement or being successful is highly unlikely.

            • JimHacker says:

              If possible, they won’t attack convoys they’ll try to pick off singles. They’ll only band together to take convoys if they have to. And while what you see seems to make sense at first glance, remember that the EoC has several thousand merchant ships and only a couple of hundred schooners. an a few hundred more war galleons. Privteers are unlikely to survive any engagement with the ICN, but hunting them down will be difficult. Convoy protection will be incredibly difficult and resource-draining. Even the threat of it will force Charis to divert resources.

              Also, remember that straight is rather big. It is not the English Channel, it is only small on a continental scale. Single raiders should slip through it easily at night. And if not, there’s always the cauldron.

              BTW, merchant ships were armed with wolves – that was basically a very small pivot mounted cannon with a one-inch bore. That isn’t enough to defend against a privateer. And the priority for cannon will be Charis’ warships, not merchant ships.

              • JeffM says:

                You do know that the ECN has this thing called OWL to help them out? TL “privateers” would get nowhere, because Charis already controls the seas–and are the ebst sailors.

              • JimHacker says:

                How is OWl going to help against privateers? blow them up itself? leave captains of picket ships mysterious notes in their cabins?

    • Nimitz13 says:

      Oops – you’ve misunderstood the size of these ships. They’re 300 FEET long, and displace 5000 tons, which is about 3x larger than the biggest ICN warship, which displaces ~1600 tons. So yes, they’re larger than anything afloat, but not THAT much larger. So the number of cannon you’ve postulated will have to come down considerably.

      They’ll be more stable so their guns will be more accurate, whatever type and size they end up with, and they’ll be the fastest thing afloat in a long voyage or a short dash. (Using their steam engines when becalmed or the wind is against them, and sprinting after anything afloat at full throttle.)

      Unfortunately the CoGA and Thirsk DO have exploding shells now. The twerp who killed Mahndrayn and blew up the powder mill sent them the plans. bleek… :(

      • MCT says:

        Even if the God navy have the plans to making exploding shells, they’re still at the very least several months behind, in producing the cannons that could fire them, if not cannons then at least a sufficient number of shells to stock up their magazine, and that’s after figuring out how to make the shells.

        That’s of course AFTER they’ve provided the shells for the Army first instead of the Navy…I’m fairly certain they’re placing a more immeadiate attention to the up coming spring land battle to rearming Thirsk’s ships.

      • MCT says:

        Ah I see, even so I think they will at least be able to pu 35-40 guns per broadside, given that the Empress of Charis had 30? guns per broadside as well? And that’s after they’ve built even bigger war galleons with more guns. So I’m thinking 40 guns each side isn’t too much to hope fore, since these ships are even bigger than their wood ships.

        Anyone like to guess how many guns they can put on the Ironclad ships?

        • KenJ says:

          OTOH, we still need to consider weight. More guns and more ammo = more displacement. Add in the weight of the armor and these will be an absolute BIT…er.. BEAST to move anywhere where there isn’t a deep enough channel relegating them to blue water and a few harbors. You’d need the longer range of rifled artillery to do things like a naval bombardment of a shore emplacement or covering an amphibious assault on a shallow beach. (Yes, it could still be done with enough planning but simply sailing back and forth across the waterfront al’la Feyard won’t be feasible without more upgrades.)

  11. MCT says:

    Ironclads will basically render Thirsk’s ships obselete, they were already unable to match the maneuvering and speed of Charisian war galleons, and they weren’t as will armed in terms of the number of broadside and the speed of their fire rate, never mind the fact that they still don’t use exploding shells. Don’t forget Charisian guns are longer ranged and more accurate too with better trained gun crews firing them.

    All of those factores together with a ships that can literally shrug off any hull impacts from iron shots are going to be devastating, and consider the fact that the God’s Navy Ships are basically going to have to close up to engage on a ships 3 times it’s size with at least twice the size of their own broadside that fires exploding shells is going to be an absolute nightmare. Don’t forget if the Charisian Ironclad’s Captain choose to, he can effectively engage outside the effect range of any God’s Navy Ships, but they would most likely engage in a slug match much like they was they did in Darcos Sound and Armegedon Reef, since they’re steel armore they could survive hits with minumal damage.

    We shouldn’t forget their greatest advantage, their speed and maneuverability, they can choose to engage downwind from them attacking each ship from behind or when there’s no wind with their steam engine power screw. Thus giving them not only the choice to engage whenever they want but the best angle of attack regardless of wind conditions. I wonder how many knots these new ships can make with sail and screw operating in tandem. While their new speed will greately improve dodging hits, it’ll probably be hard for the gun crews to get hits too, I’m guessing they’ll still consider doing slugging matchs but that really doesn’t employ their speed and maneuver advantage to their fullest.

    • sq_rigger says:

      IIRC Charis’s exploding shells are still time-fuzed rather than impact-fuzed. This means the Charisian ships have to get close enough for direct hull hits for maximum damage since a time-fuzed shell won’t have any mining effect from a near miss, and will be no better than solid shot for destroying spars and rigging. OTOH with shells you don’t really need hull rakes to do serious damage–just lay off outside the effective range of the God’s Navy ships and fire into their hulls until they strike their colors.

      • RichardK says:

        Sharly gave them impact fuses. Remember the little metal ball held in the middle of the tube by a wire that breaks when fired and sparks at impact?

        • JimHacker says:

          Yeah, this hasn’t been implemented yet but it should be soon. If you go back to where she introduced it, they agree that it won’t work for smooth-bore shells but will work for rifled shells. So we should be seeing impact fuses when we see rifled guns – which should be soon.

          • MCT says:

            Yeah totally agree, but even without rifled shells they are already outranging the God Navy cannons, to a point where they can’t even acurately fire the shells, so while it’ll be a total waste to fire a super long range, they can still engage the GOD navy ships at a stand off range where their accuary won’t suffer too much and still be effective outside the effective range of God Navy cannons.

  12. MCT says:

    I’m surprise Merlin hasn’t considered killing off Rhanauld, King of Dholar?
    I mean he could easily sneak into his bedchamber too…

    As for Thirsk I have a feeling he’s going to maybe ally with Charis if not openly than at least covertly with some super secret sneaky passing of information?

    But seriously I think they really should destroy Gorath and hang their king, that’d would be where I’ll send the new ships, but it’s so far away, then again at the moment we’re not worrying about naval warfare, but rather land battle, still I wonder how many soldiers can these six ships carry, if the number is relative to the ratio of current war galleons, and each galleon can carry about 400 warm bodies, and since these ships are 3 times as big, in theory they can carry 400 crew X 3 size X 6 ironclads = 7200 men, that a decent size army/battalion? I’m not sure about what the army term or marine term is for the size of that many fighting men, but they will all be using the new breech loading rifle, of course my number are only guesses and in fact I think it’ll be close to only 6 thousand since they’ll need a crew and the officers to pilot the ships and all, still 6 thousand marines using the new rifle that can fire 3 times as fast as, that’s essentially an army of 18 thousand men, that’s more than 4 times the men Kent, or General Green Valley had at Harry’l Crossing when they engaged 10 thousand of Garvei’s soldiers, of course the majority of which were using pikes and they were introduced to Charisian rifle and sniper fire for the first time still, given that the temple land’s volunteer armies still won’t be equiped with rifles exclusively and facing a smaller number force they’ll be arrogant and think they’ll win the day by simply charging but in reality face rifle fire that not only outrange but out gun their own rifles will be quick a shock…

    • Spktyr says:

      Simple assassination –

      1. Isn’t nearly frightening enough to teach a moral lesson to others who would face Charis in battle. Simple assassination has been used casually between kingdoms in Safehold’s recent past and it doesn’t excite terribly much comment, apparently.
      2. Isn’t nearly what the guy deserves. Not nearly enough. As Al Capone in The Untouchables put it:

      “I want him DEAD! I want his family DEAD! I want his house burned to the GROUND! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna PISS ON HIS ASHES!”

      They need to create a suitably dreadful example for others who might be thinking about being dishonorable with POWs. Hopefully the ICN/ICM/ICA brings along several ships carrying salt and plows for the traditional treatment of such places.

    • Nimitz13 says:

      What will happen…

      Thirsk’s fleet will be destroyed and the entire waterfront (and maybe the entire city) of Gorath will be burned to the ground – after allowing its citizens to flee of course.

      King Ronald will be HUNG by the neck until dead, surrounded by as many inquisitors as the EoC troops can round up. This will cause the rulers of all other nations to stop and THINK before turning EoC POWs over to the inquisition.

      Now the nitty-gritty details that complicate the consummation that we so devoutly wish…

      I expect commandos to land before the fleet arrives (perhaps helped by a seijin) to kidnap King Ronald and the upper echelons of the Inquisition in Gorath. This will make negotiations to empty the city easier, as long as they don’t tell Ronald that he’s going to hang afterward. Bleek!

      The ICN took 20,000 marines with them to burn the shipyards etc. of Iythria. They’ll need a MUCH larger force to capture Gorath, since there will be a larger force of the Dohlaran army present than Desnair had at Iythria, and this time there’s likely to be a battle since it’s improbable that King Ronald will surrender his capital city so it can be burned, even if they have him in custody. If they have his FAMILY in custody – maybe…

      Since it’s not worth the lives of thousands of EoC troops, they may settle for burning the waterfront and hanging King Ronald and the inquisitors. Not as much as we wanted, but it will get the point across – LOUDLY!

      SPOILER!!!! I’M NOT KIDDING!!!!!!

      With food shipments and troop transports, not to mention convoy protection and (perhaps) the elimination of the last few galleons in Desnair harbor (at most) the ICN is booked for MTaT. I’ve screamed since HFaF for a fleet to destroy everything around the Gulf of Dohlar and to teach Dohlar the lesson it so desperately needs NOW, before any ICA troops are taken prisoner. Unfortunately, the MWW has spoken and it isn’t going to happen this year.


      • MCT says:

        I don’t really think assasination would put an end to mistreatment of prisoners, but it’ll be more useful in preventing Dholar from deploying their armies, not stoping them per say but slowing the deployment, enought that Eastshare’s army can make it in time for the spring battle, I mean they are actively considering sending maybe 6 thousand marines to halt the advance of the Desnairian and Dholarian armies to provide enough time for Eastshare to get his army into position. So having Abraim Zhevons show up in their bed chambers would hopefully distract them enough to drag their feet, I don’t see how anything could stop their armies at this point, especially since the Gof4 have made it so clear that they’ll do anything if they even suspect your on the EoC’s side, the civil war in Sidemark is a case in point.

      • JeffM says:

        How is your guess a “spoiler”?

  13. JeffM says:

    “Eight thousand miles…” seems like Charis REALLY needs not to make all of their shipping cross the bay, especially that heading east!

  14. Wallace says:

    I have already observed that the future warfare against the group of four will necessarily be on land. Other than privateers sanctioned by the Group of four and subservient rulers, there is no sea power capable of more than annoying Charis fleets.
    It is possible that Thirsk’s family will be “rescued” in a fashion similar to that used for Irys and Daivyn; followed by Thirsk’s defection.
    Land transport of military supplies will become a necessary focus. Railroads are a possibility, although they are easily sabotaged. Steam tractors hauling wagon trains are a possibility.
    Communication of information for the group of four to distant locations can only be done by semaphore or wyverns (the latter require transport and are one-way methods). Snarcs posted at Semaphore stations can intercept messages and report the contents of messages. “Guesses” as to what the Gof4 have ordered will become more accurate.
    Corisande, Irys, and Daivyn will be important only as persuasive to other rulers in their renouncing of the Gof4, as that country’s assets are already available to Charis.
    But it’s Mr. Weber’s world; his description of the journey to the obvious conclusion is fascinating.

    • Robert H. Woodman says:

      I don’t buy the idea that Thirsk will defect and/or be rescued. I think that he will either be killed by the Inquisition or die heroically (but futilely) in battle with the ICN.

    • MCT says:

      I rather doubt they’ll construct railroads, maybe in Charis but no where else, since it requires an SO much steel to build them, never mind leveling the terrain and cutting down trees or any obstacles in the way, I don’t see railroads in happening for a while especially since they’re so poor at the moment for gold due to the building of 6 ironclads and the humanitarian aid they’re sending to Sidemark, nevermind the military expenditures due to the up coming land battle…and after all that spending they’ll still have to come up with a working prototype for a train. Most likely it will be at least 2 years before train transportation become reality.

      • Richard H says:

        You can build railroads just fine with wooden rails. They just wear out extremely quickly. I don’t remember whether even the foundries are using solid iron (nevermind steel) rails yet.

        That said, you need steam engines delivering rotary and not reciprocal motion (yes, I know they can be converted between) before even contemplating it.

        • MCT says:

          even if they’re not using steel to build railroads, and using wood, the amount of bushwacking and tree cutting and road building is time consuming given the distance that would actual be cost effective to employ trains, and they’ll have to use lots of wood no matter what and even though its just wood, its not an insignificant amount, the wear and tare will force them to constantly upkeep and rebuild the tracks in less than 1 year, it all just rot away…and those are going to be some pretty thick wood rails no? they’ll be transporting some heavy stuff, like iron ore for example…

          I think trains are the last thing they should be investing in at the moment, especially outside of charis itself and other than for transporting iron ore from the mines to the forge factory I can’t imagine them having that much use and even then they’ll have to divert quite a bit of man power, if we’re talking like 1-5 miles worth of rails, it’ll still be a daunting project, and they’ll have to divert skilled artisans/master forgers to build the train/cars, and divert more money and iron….

          Doing all of the above in the middle of a biggest land battle in history in another continent, while send hundreds of merchant convoys back and forth while building 6 ironclads and upkeeping the rest of the Navy, it’ll happen maybe in the next 2-3 years…

        • MCT says:

          At the moment, the canal is working fine, and isn’t the forge right at the waterfront anyways?
          I think using a river barge with a stream engine taxing a bunch of floats would be just as good if not as fast, if you consider the time put in to build the train tracks, while utimately trains would probably be better…

          I wonder how far the mines are from the river, maybe if they build a train from the mine to the river and then another train track from the riverfront to the forge? but is that really necessary?

        • Allan G says:

          The engines they are using for blowers and ships would work fine on a loco – the geared Shays spring to mind – the boiler is offset and you have drive shafts to the front and rear drive bogies.

  15. jgnfld says:

    Re. resistance to speed of change. While Old England was hardly Safehold, the Royal Navy and other European navies completely transitioned to iron very quickly while not even at war once they were able to.

  16. MCT says:

    I don’t believe Thirsk would die fighting if he acknowledge that its impossible to defeat the Charisian Navy in an engagement (that after observing the new ships in action against his fleet), he’d first have to be force to stand and fight, but I believe he will surrender knowing the futility of battle once the new ironclad ships are commissioned and used in battle.
    However since his family are being held has hostage, I supose he will be forced to fight no matter what, still I’m hoping that Merlin could somehow save his family like Irys, Davin and Earl Coris.

    As for Ronald of Gorath, yes I agree he should be punished, hanged to be more precise, but does he have family? I guess he does, I don’t think it’s economic for the EoC to land an invasion force, even for a occupation force in Gorath for a short period of time, it’s just too much logistics while a land war is going on in Sidemark, I mean their army and marine combined are small compared to the numbers that the Temple Lands can conscript. No, the most likely the EoC will send the 6 Ironclads, destroy the waterfront by bombardment and landing of marines to wreck havoc (burn and pillage) since Gorath is twice as far away as Corrisand at the very least. and 80,000 soldiers are already being sent to Sidemark, I don’t see where they will find 20,000 plus soldiers at the minimum to send to Gorath even after the winter and coming spring land battles in Sidemark, I would think most of those 80,000 men under Eastshare and Green Valley would be stationed at the borders of Sidemark and Temple lands to fend off future armies sent by the Temple Lands.

    As for putting salt into the ground that would be over doing it however much we want to, that’s punishing future generations when we know it’s the people from the top that surrendered the Charisians prisoners to the Temple loyalists.

  17. Wallace says:

    At the present state of the series, railroads would only be practical withn Charis, and subject to sabotage even there. The conflict seems to be turning to land warfare, where the seapower advantage of Charis could work only in delivery of supplies to ports; transport to the fighting front must be by land.
    “Endorsements” of Charis’ position by Irys (on behalf of Daivyn) and Earl Coris may be used as persuasion of other rulers. At the present state of the series, no other “use” appears feasible. A defection by Earl Thirsk would depend on whether Mr. Weber chooses to have Merlin effect another “rescue”, albeit requiring a much larger operation than that of Irys, Daivyn and Coris.
    In any event, Dohlar and Thirsk would encounter the same problem Charis had, if they were to oppose Charis on the sea; Repairs to damaged ships at great remove from friendly ports. Thus, I believe that Mr. Weber may relegate Thirsk to “past history”.
    What is of great interest is the comparison of religious intolerence in the Safehold series with current events in our world. Mr. Weber has composed a tale of the Industrial Revolution against a dictatorship based on religious control of tought. Wonderful!

  18. George Phillies says:

    My first point is that the Church of God may well try a commerce-raiding strategy against the Empire, which in fact does have its own commerce raiding expert, a former officer of Nahrman’s. They might also engage in an a-viking strategy, especially against Tarot, namely attacking coastal points. Salt refineries are traditional. Raiding attacks to take out fishing ships will hurt a bit, not to mention cutting into seamen for future fleet recruiting. Imperial trade with the mainland may have fallen a great deal, but imperial coastal and interkingdom trade is still there, and might well take a substantial hit.

    The Church may well come up with the idea that in addition to sortieing the raiders they should sortie some number of large, fast ships ordered to hide in uninhabited harbors in remote places, with the task of resupplying the raiders so that interdicting the coastline is less of a hindrance on raider operation.

    Finally, though I am not sure you need six of these things, there is a tech race between the Empire and the Church, and these vessels tend to ensure that the Church is several steps behind. It is hard to say if these vessels are a waste, in that they allow the Empire to attack Dohlar and several other places without suffering major losses.

    Sending ironclads up canals hits an issue: canals can often be drained, at which point the ironclad had fled or is now a fortress. On canals, ironclads are like armored trains, less effective against people who know how to destroy the rails.

    Against commerce raiding, the six superships will not do a lot of good, because they can only be in six places at a time.

  19. George Phillies says:

    The same investment in industrial production might be more rewarding, but these ships appear to guarantee the security of Charis, Chisholm, and Corisande though not Tarot.

    • KenJ says:

      Tarot will get the rifled shore batteries with hydrolic/pneumatic trains, observation posts and computer controlled laser sighting systems with GPS steered rounds… oh… wait…. :P

  20. Drak Bibliophile says:

    JeffM, regarding OWL and the privateers. OWL could find the privateers easily but OWL can only tell Imperial Navy Captains/Admirals who are members of the Inner Circle.

    It would be extremely unlikely for Inner Circle commanders to be in positions where they can *always* stop the privateers.

    Of course, Charis may have the best Navy captains but the privateer captains only have to be better than Charian merchant captains.

  21. sensei says:

    i think we’re about to experience a paradigm shift here (i HATE that word, so i’m using it once and never again).

    from about this point on, COGA is no longer the primary threat to the existence of Charis. the greatest worries will now be the satellite with its rakurai, and whatever beings come from under the temple. while a great deal of print will be used describing how Charis is going to conquer COGA, its own survival is assured, barring intervention from those two ‘modern’ sources.

    i’ve also thought that DW has been missing a bet regarding Merlin’s role against COGA. while i totally agree that Charis needed to be put on the road to modernization, IMO, Merlin could have done much more to weaken COGA:

    1. cut off the head: couldn’t Merlin have used his skimmer to direct a few KEW/Rakurai of his own against the temple?

    2. isolate the head: Merlin on his own, or with some army help, could have blockaded the temple, keeping anyone from going in or out. perhaps even drawn the gang of four outside, where they could be easily killed.

    3. cut off the hands: Merlin could have learned the names and locations of every inquisitor in every major capitol, then taken a few days or a couple of weeks off to go and kill every one. Clyntahn’s orders would be much less effective with no fanatics on-site to threaten the local rulers.

    these are sort of ‘off the top of my head’ ideas, and i welcome input showing me how impractical or unlikely they are.

  22. sensei says:

    p.s. Merlin and OWL should already be working on weapons and defenses against whatever will emerge from under the temple.

  23. sensei says:

    and Merlin could have used the skimmer to set up some factories in whatever passes for an asteroid belt, to make a few thousand missiles to send against the satellite. one major element Merlin has had on his side vs. the satellite has been time, and he has wasted it.

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