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Sturgeon

Competition Suggestions

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Sounds good, but I think we should keep the PT boat competition in mind for a later date. I like the concept a lot.

 

The tank competition will likely attract more interest, and we should probably establish a track record of doing more than one contest in a row that doesn't flame out before we expand.

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I'll let the PT Boat/FAC competition stew for a while -- I'm not as into designing heavy tanks, so I'm probably going to let Moo be the draftsman for it. Also, I wrote up the contest entry and flavor text over the course of about five hours, in one sitting. If I have time tonight I'll write up a modern USN one on my google drive. 

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I liked the idea, got me thinking up some crazy PT ideas (I narrowed it down to either a schnellboot-like craft with a 75mm Mk 22 on the back instead of a quad 20, or an Elco 77ft with 2 torps and the same 75mm on the front). 

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Alright it's time for me to get this idea down and solicit feedback. On the dicksword we've been talking a bit about a follow on tank competition with the same setting as the Cascadian one that is just now concluding. This would be a bit different to previous competitions in that the primary challenge wouldn't be designing the best tank, it would be meeting ever-shifting and mercurial requirements set by an incompetent leadership. On Discord we discussed this in the context a "Fuhrer" giving orders from the top down, which hapless designers get to deal with. Not only would the baseline requirements be unusual, contradictory, and a bit off, but unlike previous competitions the requirements would shift throughout the month of the competition at the whims of the Fuhrer (or whatever we decide to call him). One of the ways we might do this would be to have a list of pre-set requirements, some of which would be selected by the member acting as the Fuhrer and added to the competition either on top of or in place of the previous requirements. The challenge here would be having a design that could either flex to meet changing requirements or ignoring the requirements entirely and making a design that fits what you think the Fuhrer really wants.

 

At the same time, I was musing about a competition centering around the Californian response to the tank selected by the competition we just held for the Cascadian Republic. It had already been established that the Californian state is a strongman cult-of-personality-style Communist dictatorship. The tanks designed for the Cascadian contest are typically very well-armored, suggesting that the Californian response would be... Extreme. I think, naturally, this competition should be for a heavy or super-heavy tank.

 

Thoughts, everybody?

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I approve of the concept, with a single clarification- the design is to starnge requirements and has a hand-in date; at that point, the Fuhrer intervenes and "improves" the requirements, and the designers must then with a minimum of modifications to the "built" design must attempt to match the new requirements (or ignore them as they see fit).

The Fuhrer is technically-minded and may "suggest" improvements like 'make it go as fast backwards as it goes forwards' or 'add 20% more HP' or 'make the gun 20% more energetic at the muzzle' or 'add another weapons system to it' or other suggestions in a similar vein.

 

Also there had better not be a rail transport requirement, let there be 5m wide and 4m tall monsters if the designers want.

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2 minutes ago, N-L-M said:

I approve of the concept, with a single clarification- the design is to starnge requirements and has a hand-in date; at that point, the Fuhrer intervenes and "improves" the requirements, and the designers must then with a minimum of modifications to the "built" design must attempt to match the new requirements (or ignore them as they see fit).

 

Good idea!
 

2 minutes ago, N-L-M said:

Also there had better not be a rail transport requirement, let there be 5m wide and 4m tall monsters if the designers want.

 

I agree, and was not planning on having a rail transport requirement. Let there be IS-7s!

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54 minutes ago, Lord_James said:

Time to go full retard (Maus)!!! 

Oh no, you can go much fuller retard than that and still have it be a better idea.

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@Lord_James I don't think Schnellboot style designs would meet the weight requirement I had set, and I think the displacement/lurssen effect design is more than a little sketchy. 

 

Also on the heavy tank contest, the madman I keep handy is already cooking up ideas. We're at I think nearly 100 tons last I checked, and I'm perusing my big list of diesel engines for the one least suited to the task that's producible that makes enough power that fits

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17 hours ago, Sturgeon said:

Alright it's time for me to get this idea down and solicit feedback. On the dicksword we've been talking a bit about a follow on tank competition with the same setting as the Cascadian one that is just now concluding. This would be a bit different to previous competitions in that the primary challenge wouldn't be designing the best tank, it would be meeting ever-shifting and mercurial requirements set by an incompetent leadership. On Discord we discussed this in the context a "Fuhrer" giving orders from the top down, which hapless designers get to deal with. Not only would the baseline requirements be unusual, contradictory, and a bit off, but unlike previous competitions the requirements would shift throughout the month of the competition at the whims of the Fuhrer (or whatever we decide to call him). One of the ways we might do this would be to have a list of pre-set requirements, some of which would be selected by the member acting as the Fuhrer and added to the competition either on top of or in place of the previous requirements. The challenge here would be having a design that could either flex to meet changing requirements or ignoring the requirements entirely and making a design that fits what you think the Fuhrer really wants.

 

At the same time, I was musing about a competition centering around the Californian response to the tank selected by the competition we just held for the Cascadian Republic. It had already been established that the Californian state is a strongman cult-of-personality-style Communist dictatorship. The tanks designed for the Cascadian contest are typically very well-armored, suggesting that the Californian response would be... Extreme. I think, naturally, this competition should be for a heavy or super-heavy tank.

 

Thoughts, everybody?

I've forwarded this one already, but I like the idea of a competition where the judges all have different criteria. As in, one judge is head of the army (and wants a medium-weight vehicle with good mobility), one is head of production (and wants a cheap tin can) and one is supreme leader (and wants a 70-tonne dick enlarger).

 

There would then be some sort of weighted formula for selection to represent the power dynamic: ie: the fuhrer-judge's score counts double or something.

 

I think this could mesh well with your idea by starting with a balanced requirement set by the other judges and then having each change represent an area where the fuhrer-judge will exercise his power (he's not concerned with details, after all). Some requirements could of course be mandatory.

 

There would be, say, three rounds of competition and contestants would have progressively less and less leeway in terms of design changes (ie: in round 2 only minor changes can be made to the hull, in round 3 three only minor changes can be made to the hull, transmission and drivetrain).

 

The final winner would then be a composite score of all three judges (weighted appropriately).

 

I'd be happy to be a non-fuhrer judge for this one btw.

 

Edit: just to demonstrat how this would look in practice, here is a gamed-out version of the Panther's development:

 

Judges:

- A = army judge

- E = economy judge

- F = fuhrer-judge

 

Phase 0 (1938 VK20 designs) - these would form background material for the designers to work off.

 

Phase 1:

The powers that be want a new tank. The requirements set by A and E are for a 30-tonne tank that fits within specific dimensions, good all-terrain mobility, rail transport capability, at least 80mm LoS armour on the hull and turret front, at least 40mm LoS armour on the upper hull sides, and a gun capable of knocking out T-34 and KV-1 tanks at ranges of 500m. A further advises that the tank must be capable of executing a road march of 200km on a single tank of fuel, and would prefer a diesel engine. E advises that existing engines (including the HL-120 and non-frontline aero engine derivatives) are preferred for use in the vehicle, and that the 5.0cm KwK 39 and 7.5cm KwK 40 are available for use. E further advises that an existing turret, designed by a well-connected industrial firm (the head of whom is a personal friend of F), is available for use.

 

Phase 2:

The situation has changed in order to reflect changing circumstances. The weight limit is upped to 35 tonnes, while that armour requirement is upped to at least 100mm LoS on the hull and turret and at least 50mm LoS on the upper hull sides. F has further requested that a more powerful gun be added to combat future medium and heavy tanks. E advises that a long-barreled 7.5cm gun is presently in development and may be used. E further advises that the HL-230 engine and frontline aero engines may be considered. A, under the influence of the omnipresent Kniepkamp, has advised that torsion suspension and interleaved roadwheels will be favoured. F has taken a fancy to the concept of neutral steering.

 

Phase 3:

F has decided that the gun for the vehicle must be at least as capable as the existing 8.8cm KwK 36, and has demanded that the armour be at least 150mm on the front hull. A has advised that the tank must retain good cross-country mobility and a high top road speed. E has advised that the tank must include a number of concessions to economic efficiency such as a simple, welded hull form, minimal use of machining time for all mechanical components, limited use electric components and no use of tungsten for the shells. E further advises that use of aluminium, rare steel alloying elements (principally chromium, vanadium and molybdenum), copper and rubber must be strictly limited.

 

Final score sheet (scored from 0-2, where 0 = requirements not met, 1 = requirements met and 2 = requirments exceeded):

 

A:

- Tank is under 35 tonnes

- Tank top speed is 45km/hour on roads

- Tank is rail-transportable

- Tank fits within dimensions set

- Power/weight is 10kW/tonne

- Armour is 100mm LoS on front, 50mm LoS on upper sides

- Gun is at least as capable as existing 7.5cm KwK 40

- Bonus points (up to 4) for making the tank easily servicable, reliable, comfortable for the crew and incorporating lethality-increasing devices such as rangefinders, stabilizers etc.

- Total = score/3 (rounded down to nearest integer)

 

E:

- Tank is under 35 tonnes

- Tank top speed is 45km/hour on roads

- Tank is rail-transportable

- Tank fits within dimensions set

- Tank makes use of existing engine

- Tank makes use of provided turret

- Tank makes use of exsiting gun

- Bonus points (up to 4) for making the tank simplified for production, increasing the use of non-strategic materials and decreasing the use of strategic ones.

- Total = score/3 (rounded down to nearest integer)

 

F:

- Armour is 150mm LoS on front, 50mm LoS on upper sides

- Gun is capable of penetrating at least 150mm at 500m

- 2 points for every fancy of F's which has been catered to

- Bonus points (up to 4) for giving the tank an imposing shape, adding a gimmick calculated to appeal to F's sense of nationalist superiority (wonder-devices or state-of-the-art components) or otherwise doing something to wow F.

 

Final score = A total + E total + F score

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You guys already seem to have a concept for the next competition, but an idea for one of these just came to me and I wanted to put it in writing: 

 

The year is 1936, and you are an engineer for a private company which is known to design and build tanks or other armored vehicles for select customers (Vickers, Renault, CKD/Skoda, Marmon-Herrington, Krupp, Landsverk, Fiat-Ansaldo, etc.). Alternately, you are an independent madman entrepreneur with an interest in designing tanks, like J. W. Christie or Edward Grotte. 

 

Tensions in the far east are rising and the Chinese government, concerned about the threat posed by Japan, has approached your firm to purchase tanks for the impending struggle. While the Chinese purchasing agents would be happy to have some of your existing designs, they feel that it would be better to have a tank tailored to their needs, and have indicated that they would be prepared to offer you a rather lucrative contract to design and produce a tank to their specifications.

 

The specifications put forth by the Chinese purchasing commission are as follows: 

 

- Must be as simple, rugged, and reliable as possible.

- Cannot weigh more than 20 metric tons, with designs under 12 tons preferred 

- Must have good cross country performance, and maximum speed on roads should be no less than 30 kph

- Should carry a main armament capable of defeating the armor of all current Japanese tank designs [Read: Type 89 I-go, Type 95 Ha-go], plus one or two machine guns

- Strong preference given to designs using weapons already in service with the National Revolutionary Army, or ones which at least use the same ammunition

- Armor must be able to resist heavy machine guns from any range and angle, and the Japanese 37mm AT Gun from the front at 500 meters

- Ability to be disassembled into something that could be smuggled through customs as a "tractor" or "scrap metal," then re-assembled with limited infrastructure is strongly preferred

 

The rules are simple; 

 

1. You must pick a real-life, period-appropriate designer to "represent," and your entry must reasonably resemble their designs, using resources, features and construction methods available which that company preferred and had access to during the stated time period. For example, an entry from Fiat-Ansaldo with torsion bar suspension and all-cast construction would be disqualified.

2. There should only be one contestant for each historical designer. 

3. Creative designs will be favored; You could technically draw up a modified Pz. 35(t) LT vz.35 to fit the specifications, but where's the fun in that?  

 

 

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So this suggestion comes from my dad, who avidly followed the last competition:

 

Wheeled Death Traps 1943

 

Tanks are expensive and complex (not to mention slow and fuel-hogs), so why not try to do more with less?

 

The competition would be to design a wheeled or half-track vehicle (the latter with the correct justifications obviously) to replace light and medium tanks in some roles. The design must include a fully fleshed-out APC variant, with other variants (command vehicles, recovery vehicles, SPGs, SPAAGs) being a welcome bonus. The criteria are as follows:

 

- Maximum weight: 30 tonnes

 

- Protection: armour at least 50mm RHA equivalent LoS across the frontal arc and 15mm across sides and rear.  Armour of greater than 75mm LoS across frontal arc and 20mm across sides and rear preferred.

 

- Firepower: cannon of at least 40mm in calibre, at least 1 machinegun. Main weapon system must at least be capable of accurately engaging and penetrating medium tanks fielded by enemy nations at a 30' angle from the side. Suggested values are at least 60mm RHA LoS at combat ranges (~500m). The preferred level of penetration is ~100mm @ 500m.

 

- Mobility: power/weight ratio of at least 10kW/t. Speeds of at least 60km/h (on road) and 30km/h (off road). Ground clearance of at least 40cm. Range of at least 200km. Ground pressure must be less than 200kPa with penetration of at most half the wheels into the mud/sand/snow. Ground pressures of less than 150kPa with penetration of less than 1/4 of the wheels preferred.

 

- Tactical: vehicle should be easy to service and maintain. Special features to increase the reliability of the vehicle or allow servicing using a minimum of specialised equipment would be highly favoured.

 

- Strategic: vehicle should use a minimum of strategically valuable resources (copper, aluminium, rubber) and be designed for mass production. Features which simplify production or replace complex/rare components with simple/common ones would be highly favoured.

 

- Technological: technology is limited to that available (or in development) in 1943. Speculative technology (eg: the development of a new gun or engine for the project) can be employed where suitable justifications are given.

 

- Timeline: the vehicle must be developed with an eye towards full-scale production by mid-1944. Justifications should be given as to how production would be achieved in the nation chosen. Variants other than the base vehicle and APC can be produced after full production has started.

 

- Other: must include a capable radio set. APC variant must be able to carry at least 8 soldiers (+kit) in addition to the crew. Crew comfort features (especially those enabling long-duration missions in very cold or very hot climates) would be highly favoured.

 

Judging can be as normal, or according to any of the schemes advanced above.

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