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    Sturgeon

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    • By Toxn
      This is the competition entry thread.
       
      Please submit your complete entries here (all entries will be judged complete when judging begins in the first week of November) and keep the other competition thread for discussion and chatter.
       
      Once judging is complete I will make a post here to discuss the entries and announce a winner.
       
      Best of luck!
       
      Update: final submissions should be in hand by the 22nd of November 2020.
    • By Toxn
      You are an engineer at an Italian locomotive and tractor-making company in early 1943. The writing is on the wall for the Italian army in North Africa, with a lot of equipment having been lost and the enemy on the brink of kicking the axis out of Tunisia and then heading across the Mediterranean. In short, things are looking more than a little desperate. 
       
      However, all is not lost. Il Duce himself has stepped in and, with the assistance of the Germans, procured both some of their finest captured vehicles for use in the upcoming defense of the homeland. Since many of these vehicles have been... gently used, and the existing firms like Ansaldo are flooded with orders, your firm has been asked to work on them in order to bring them up to the standards demanded by modern warfare. 
       
      In addition to these vehicles, the Germans have also graciously agreed to sell weapons from their existing stock of captured equipment, as well as providing production licenses for some of their more modern equipment. You have also been given permission to work with local weapons manufacturers in order to modify existing artillery to suit your needs. Italian automotive and engine manufacturers are similarly available to help. Finally; your firm's experience in locomotives and tractors means that you can modify hulls and put together turrets and turret rings. You can also produce castings (although not very large ones) and weld armour plates.
       
      Your job, which you have no choice but to accept, is to choose a vehicle from among the captured stock being offered for sale, and propose a series of plausible fixes in order to give it a fighting chance against the American and British equipment currently in the field (specifically light tanks and light anti-tank weapons).
       
      It is not foreseen that any of these vehicles will be able to plausibly take on modern medium or heavy designs head-on. Instead, what is wanted are general, implementable improvements to the characteristics of the chosen vehicle. These improvements should be aimed at making these vehicles more useful in the initial battles which are foreseen taking place against airborne and landing forces, in general cooperation with infantry, and as scouts.
       
      The submission should include one or more drawings or blueprints (at least a side view of the vehicle, but preferably a 3-point view and isometric view), a description of the modified vehicle, a description of how the modifications would be accomplished and a description of how the modifications would improve the design overall. The text of the submission should short and descriptive rather than long and exhaustive, and should not exceed 1000 words in total. Images may be photoshopped using existing pictures.
       
      Judging will be done on the basis of plausibility and effectiveness, with innovative solutions being encouraged in order to get the most bang for buck out of the base vehicle. Beyond implementation, the fixes should prioritise combat effectiveness while also improving reliability, crew ergonomics, communication, mobility and protection as much as possible.
       
      The foreign vehicles available for modification are:
      Renault R35 (already in service) Hotchkiss H35/39 Somua S35 (already in use for training purposes) T-26 BT-5 T-28 (only available in very small numbers, so need to be extremely effective) Panzer II Ausf.C  
      The foreign weapons immediately available for purchase are:
      15mm ZB-60 25mm Puteaux and Hotchkiss 3.7cm KPÚV vz. 34/Pak 34 (t) 3.7cm ÚV vz. 38/KwK 38(t)
      3.7cm Pak 36 4.0 cm Pak 192 (e) 45mm M1937 (53-K) 4.7cm KPÚV vz. 38/Pak 38 (t) 47mm APX 7.5cm Pak 97/38 7.62 cm F.K.297(r) and  7.62 cm PaK 39(r) 8.8cm Raketenwerfer 43  
      Licenses are also available for the manufacture of foreign engines (Maybach HL62 TRM, Maybach HL120 TRM and Praga Typ TNHPS/II), periscopes, sights, radios, cupolas and automotive subassemblies. All foreign vehicle weapons, subassemblies and components are available for reverse engineering and manufacture.
       
      IMPORTANT NOTE: This competition hasn't been finalised, and is waiting on your input! Vote to participate by giving this topic a 'controversial' (grapefruit-induced tears being the only currency of value), and if we get enough participants we'll pull the trigger. Ask any questions you want below, and when/if the competition goes forwards I will make a new thread for entries.
       
      Edit: thanks to excellent feedback, the competition proposal has been somewhat edited. If you want an idea of what my mindset is here, read up on the battle of Gela (bearing in mind that the wikipedia entry is shite) and ask how much better the counter-attack could have gone if the Italian vehicles had been equipped with radios and had the ability to move faster than jogging speed.
       
      Edit 2: since I failed to mention this above - this is not a one-man, one-entry sort of competition (although I'm not keen on the ten-men, one entry approach either).
      If you have two good ideas then you can submit twice. The only rules are not to test my patience and to keep it within the bounds of good taste.
    • By Toxn
      So I got a request recently from {NAME REDACTED} as to whether we have a how-to guide or something for competitions. After a few moments of bitter, bitter laughter at the decade-plus of my life that I've spent cobbling together things that can maybe, sort-of, squint-your-eyes produce a facsimile of a realistic vehicle, I thought I'd share my process:
       
       
      Note: I was half-right - we definitely have supplementary info for aspiring pretend tank designers pinned to this very board.
       
      Finally, I'm inviting our forum grognards and past winners to share their process for folk that haven't been here since before the last ice age, so that all can benefit.
    • By Sturgeon
      We're holding a smaller, lower-effort competition while things simmer down enough for me to reboot the Texas competition to allow more people to participate. Those of you that choose to participate, enjoy.

      This competition is intended to be a brief 1-2 week long effort which should require only a handful of man-hours to complete, depending on skill level. Unlike a proper competition, this has one person who's judge, jury, and executioner (me!), to allow the maximum number of competitors. Consider this a brief interlude before the reboot of the Texas competition (which is likely to pick up more or less where it left off). Accordingly, there will be relatively little fluff and editorializing. Contestants will be given a basic setting and a set of requirements with a description of the unique mission needing to be solved. Beyond that, contestants will be responsible for filling in the gaps on their own, to whatever degree they see fit.
       
      Programs required: Solid modeling software, ammunition load development software, ballistic calculator, performance estimators (provided)
       
      Expected man-hours: 5-10
       
      Deliverables required: Image of loaded cartridge and projectile, cutaway or exploded view of projectile or projectile + cartridge, cartridge data sheet, bill of materials (including all component masses and materials), ballistic charts (not required to be in graph form), completed performance estimate sheets, any supplementary materials the contestant chooses to provide.

      The competition will be largely conducted via the SH discord, if you're interested please PM me for a link if you don't already have one.

      BEGIN FLUFF

      After the War, the Great Plains became virtually cut off from the rest of the former United States. Governments fractured into small polities based around towns and cities, as local populations realized they no longer were enfranchised as part of a larger economy and logistical network. State governments began to be seen overwhelmingly as distant meddlers who offered nothing in return for their interference in local politics. The area around the Black Hills was no exception. The states of South Dakota and Wyoming disintegrated quickly once the Federal Government of the United States no longer took a direct role in state affairs. A loose government formed around Rapid City, supported by strong manufacturing jobs, traders, and a large ammunition plant that could support paramilitary operations ranging around the Black Hills region and securing the roads that remained passable. Due to this, their influence expanded well into Eastern Wyoming and north to Southeast Montana and North Dakota. The emerging Dakota Union became the primary, if thinly spread, force in the northern plains region. Their most famous agents would be the Sioux Scouts.



      Unlike most pre-war infantry forces, which operated as part of large combined arms units in a highly tiered structure, the Scouts are highly independent light infantry. Often, Sioux Scouts will travel hundreds of miles unsupported in units as small as pairs, or even the occasional single Scout. While on patrol, they are responsible for their own sustenance and upkeep, foraging for food and shooting with their rifles what they need to survive. For the moment, there are no other organized military forces in the region, and Scouts are tasked primarily with maintaining contact, trade, and awareness of the peoples living inside the Northern Great Plains, and the hills to the West. As part of their duties, they are sometimes called to settle disputes, mete out justice, or are even permanently stationed in affiliated regions to maintain law and order. In times of war, they function in larger units as an army to protect Black Hills from incursion, but this hasn't happened in many decades. There is no distinction between "officers" and "enlisted" in the Sioux Scouts, but there is a basic hierarchy, and Scout pairs will often have a subordinate and a superior. In times of greater trouble, Scouts are also expected to marshal and lead local forces in the local defense. Generally, Sioux Scouts travel on foot or on horseback. They are substantially made up of Indian peoples, although any residents of the Dakota Union may join the all-volunteer force.
       

       
      Currently, the Sioux Scouts are armed with a motley assortment of both manually-operated and semiautomatic rifles in various calibers. The Sioux Scouts have requested a new semiautomatic rifle to replace these, and it has been determined that they require a new caliber to go along with it, hopefully phasing out the assorted legacy calibers in the process. Thanks to the plant in Rapid City, this is a very feasible request for the Dakota Union (and helps sustain jobs in its largest city). You are an engineer at the Rapid City plant, tasked with creating a report on what the new caliber's characteristics should be. Resources, testing facilities, and reams of research are made available to you. The year is 2221. Get to work.

      END FLUFF
       
      The new round must:
      1. Produce no less than 700 ft-lbs at 600 yards.
      2. Penetrate twenty-four 1/2" pine boards at 600 yards (equivalent to a lethal penetrating shot on a quartered buffalo).
      3. Drop no more than 96 inches at 600 yards (2.6in sight height, 100yd zero, 59.0F temperature, 29.92in Hg pressure).
      4. Drift no more than 36 inches at 600 yards (2.6in sight height, 100yd zero, 59.0F temperature, 29.92in Hg pressure, 10mph 90 degree crosswind).
      5. All performance requirements must be met at 200 ft/s below the spec velocity, except the 600 yard energy requirement, which can be met at 500 yards at -200 ft/s, instead.
      6. Produce pressure no greater than 52,000 CUP (brass cased) or 50,000 CUP (steel cased).
      7. Use a projectile composed only of any combination of the following: Copper alloy, bronze alloy, lead alloy, iron alloy, steel alloy, tin alloy, nickel alloy, and/or zinc alloys. Titanium, tungsten, aluminum, magnesium, and other exotic metals are not allowed.
      8. Minimum magazine capacity must be 20, with a stack height no greater than 5 inches.
      9. Cartridge overall length may not exceed 2.8 inches.
      10. Cartridge recoil from a 10lb weapon may not exceed 12 ft-lbs.
      11. Cartridge must meet performance requirements from a 22" barreled weapon.
      12. Cartridge must cost as little as possible.

      You are provided with calculators to use to estimate these values for the competition. For trajectory, drift, and energy, you must use JBM Ballistics calculator here. Internal ballistics must be estimated via the Powley Computer (just check the pressure box and enter 52,000 CUP for brass or 50,000 CUP for steel). Also please see my guidelines for modeling steel cases here. The pine penetration value must be calculated with this spreadsheet, and the recoil energy with this spreadsheet. For the purposes of this competition, cost per round is determined solely by the materials used. Please reference the material cost sheet here. If you do not already have a solid modeling program, you can use Google SketchUp for free. @Toxn has a lot of experience with it, you might ask him.
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