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Sturgeon's House


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Everything posted by Toxn

  1. I'm thinking double layer tracks, each with an independent suspension system.
  2. If cutting-edge medtech is on the table, I have money on bioprinted bone tissue allowing you to, for instance, elegantly design and incorporate a synthetic knee joint - solving the issue of dissimilar wear that causes them to weaken and pop off.
  3. I think the future might be more along the lines of smaller numbers of SF-type guys splitting their time between fighting on their own behalf and operating various types of drones (mules, scout UAVs, attack quadcopters, UGVs etc). As for the physical stuff, the near future probably involves more elite athlete conditioning and less cutting-edge medical interventions like stem cells. Even so I think you'll probably see front-line troops in their 40s if we can stop destroying their knees and backs as much.
  4. I think the debate then turns on how effective the reservists are going to be, which slots right into the heart of this discussion. If your professional forces are 10 times more effective then reservists (who are in turn twice as effective as people taken off the street and given whatever is in the armoury) then it might be worth it to just scale everything back to the bare minimum and send all your citizens to a 6-month familiarization course after high school or something. If your reservists are more useful than that then it still pays to keep whatever readiness you can afford to impose on them. Correct me if I'm wrong, by the way, but I heard that another looming issue for the IDF at present is that the ultra-orthadox folks still all have service exemptions and the government is very politically tied to this. So perhaps getting rid of the draft is also a way to cut the gordian knot?
  5. The gun designer Excel thingy I mentioned: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CvD4XOW-iKXxuuXQq5xSpNXHayUIVs2a Functions: Odermatt calculator (sheathed long rods version) De Marre calculator Statistical mass/performance estimators for HE, HEAT, HEAT-FS Cartridge designer (note: accuracy may vary - WW2-era cartridges differed wildly in terms of the performance extracted from a given case volume) Black powder cartridge designer (note: for steampunk guns) Note: for longrods I recommend using Solver with the following values: Velocity greater than 1250m/s L/D ratio less than 30 Core diameter greater than or equal to 15mm Also keep an eye on the core/jacket ratio to make sure that stupid things aren't happening. Edit: also note that the longrods output is currently set to tungsten rather than DU and the steel monoblock equivalent isn't shown. Additionally, the target is steel at 0'.
  6. I shoud mention that, over the course of the last competition, I ended up making a gun designer in excel that incorporates De Marre and Odermatt in one place, along with rough-and-ready mass/penetration guides for HE HEAT and HEAT-FS. If anyone wants to use it I can provide a google drive docs link to it.
  7. We gonna pull the trigger on this thing or what?
  8. I agree that nuance is important here. In light of that, it's interesting that in both cases the insurgents won the war while taking disproportionate (in the Afghan case, monumentally disproportionate) casualties. This definitely underlines the fact that my analogy above is very much a limited one, and only tells you something about bare tactical effectiveness rather than operational, strategic and geopolitic issues.
  9. Agreed, and an analogy is just that. I'm also trying hard not to push too far into the other direction, because obviously warfare is about more than individual battles and K/D ratios. I just find it interesting how far my intuitions concerning troop quality seem to be out of sync with the available data. Put simply: my underlying assumption has always been that troop effectiveness improves moreor-less linearly with quality, whereas I now think the current state of affairs is more like an exponential (or sigmoidal) curve.
  10. A good point, and part of the reason why I think decades-long insurgent campaigns tend to work so well against better armed and trained opponents.
  11. Not necessarily aimed at you. There's a weird sub-genre of authors out there who have taken it upon themselves to 'save' the reputation of the RN by challenging or defending the service's worst quirks in WWII. In the case of their carriers this involves heavily pushing the narrative of survivability while glossing over just how dismally the ships and aircraft sometimes did their core mission and/or obsfucating the RNs very beleaguered recognition of carriers as more than an adjunct to the battleship-centred fleet. A lot of it is very good, well-researched and slickly-produced (http://www.armouredcarriers.com is an exemplar). The unfortunate result, however, is to push the pendulum in the other direction as an old and well-cultured 'rule Britannia' jingoism sets in. So people show up to discussions about naval warfare in WWII fired up to show the world that the RN did nothing wrong and was (at worst) a victim of circumstance and diminished budgets. A telling sign of this, from my perspective at least (a know very little about ships but more about aircraft), is that the fleet air arm aircraft (which were near-universally badly designed, obsolescent or both) never get mentioned except in the most abstract terms. They just can't be hammered to fit a narrative about a competent service doing wonders with the little it had.
  12. These are all fair enough points, but I think you need to look at the banner for this thread again. Were armoured deck carriers the worst idea ever? No. Does the endless parade of RN apologists trying to big up them make them seem overrated? Yes.
  13. Yeah, I think heavy equipment (tanks, artillery, aircraft) makes the disparity worse not better. An amateur tank, artillery crew or pilot gets eaten by the pros. The Korean war saw 3:1 aircraft kill ratios with similar equipment and a lower difference in pilot skill than you would expect to see today. And most of the air-to-air tech developed since has disproportionately favoured the higher-skilled pilots. Gulf war tank battles (which might be anomalous, but still) saw hundred-to-one kill rates.
  14. I should put up a disclaimer here, btw: the argument I'm making is framed in terms of effectiveness. Elite troops will always be more effective than conscrips (who are more effective than irregulars), but I have reason to believe that the balance has changed over time and is currently very much in favour of the well-trained, well-equipped folk over the rest. This doesn't mean that a mass army can't win wars, though. If my hypothetical SANDF supersoldier army ends up being 1% of the population but ends up fighting a citizen army from a similarly-sized country that makes up 20% of the population, my supersoldiers have to be 20 times better than their peasant soldiers to win. The thing is, from my above analysis we're almost there already and I don't see the scales turning back in the near future.
  15. Indeed they have. However, the examples usually point towards more rather than less elite troops. Hoplites, for instance, were ordered by rank with the richest citizens in front as they brought the best equipment to the field. Oh yes. Also, the most effective of the Gallic forces were again the ones with good equipment and time to train with it - aka the richer folk. The mongols are argued to be a special case, as the sheer weirdness of their society meant that everyone was a horse-owning hunter-badass. Compare, for instance, the roman equites and Byzantine Kataphraktoi, who were the solidly drawn from the upper stratum and constituted a minority of their respective armies. Then again, the image of the Mongols as being entirely cavalry beyond the first few years of Ghengis Khan's rule is also false so... In terms of the barbarians: remember that our popular understanding of the Goths, huns etc as unwashed hordes of savages is very much a distortion produced by the vanquished effectively writing the histories. Attila grew up as a Roman, and there is no reason to think that he or the army he put together looked very much different from the late-Roman armies they fought.
  16. With the preamble out of the way: please use this space to debate the concept of elite vs citizen armies in the modern context...
  17. One of the interesting things about good books is that often their marginalia are worth a seperate look all on their own. I was reminded of this when reading Scheidel's "The Great Leveller"; which, in addition to being deeply depressing, also had a few interesting tidbits here and there on other matters. One that caught my eye was the point that armies were historically rather elite institutions. Less than 1% of the population would be on campaign in all but the most dire of circumstances, and the sort of men who made good soldiers in ancient times were by definition the young, strong and those well-resourced enough to afford at least a portion of their own kit. Our intuitions about ancient warfare are accordingly skewed by the comparitively recent emergence of citizen armies which peaked in the 20th century. Scheidel's other point here was that, in armies as in so many things, we're reverting to historical norms. This means that the slow proffessionalization of armed forces around the world is not actually a contingent or abnormal thing driven by external (read: polical) considerations - much as the return-to-conscription camp would like to believe otherwise. Instead it is simply a recognition that a modern, well-trained soldier wielding expensive and technologically sophisticated equipment, is an order of magnitude more effective than a conscript. Remarkably, there is actually some evidence from my country's own military history for just such a hypothesis. Here I'm referring to the battle of Kibati in 2013, where ~230 SANDF special forces and paratroopers faced off against ~5000 M23 irregulars. Thanks to our own disorganisation and the decay of our armed forces, there was not as much lopsidedness in terms of equipment as is usually the case. With more-or-less equal levels of equipment and no outside support (including heavy armour or air support), the SANDF forces killed 700 for the loss of 15. Even accounting for the inherent issue of attacking forces taking higher casualties, this still represents something like a 15:1 level of effectiveness per man. In the aftermath of the battle, the SANDF got its shit together and sent in a properly-equipped battalion with air support. Then they inflicted ~500 casualties for no loss. This seems to me like a pretty good natural experiment in how the tides have turned.
  18. If 9/11 taught the world anything, it's that the terrorists win. Osama wanted the US to overreact, lash out at the muslim world and become a worse version of itself. And it did all that and more. This sick fuck wants to drive the polarisation of Western societies? Sadly, he'll probably succeed. All we can hope now is that he chokes on his own dick trying to give himself a blowjob in his cell.
  19. See I was sure it would be a joined dynasties thing, but otherwise agree.
  20. I would have thought that it would be something incongruous like Peanut Smyth-Clinton or something.
  21. All glory to the People's Republic of California and it's great leader: INSERT HUMOROUS FAKE NAME HERE
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