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"Steam Tanks and War Wagons" Topic

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The Gray Ghost06 Jan 2008 9:21 a.m. PST

I'm trying to think of ways to include steam tank (warhammer) and Hussite war and gun wagons into My game.
While still playing a 18th Century style game.
Any thoughts?

cloudcaptain06 Jan 2008 9:35 a.m. PST

Include Da Vinic-equese stuff?


cloudcaptain06 Jan 2008 9:35 a.m. PST
GoodBye06 Jan 2008 10:39 a.m. PST

Agreed; you can't go wrong with Leonardo da Vinci.

The Gray Ghost06 Jan 2008 11:00 a.m. PST

Thanks does anyone have any rules for useing them?

cloudcaptain06 Jan 2008 12:36 p.m. PST

This is the thread you want:

TMP link

abdul666lw06 Jan 2008 11:28 p.m. PST

A very interesting topic, at least from my very personal pov.

The underlaying question -heavy of consequences with regard to the rules- is:"How efficient do you want these war machines to be?" (the very same question raised by the use of balloons in a 18thC. setting: TMP link

Not merely a matter of 'realism'. Perhaps because of my background in evolutionary biology, I tend to think 'on the long run'. *If* such technological novelties are efficient on the battlefield / tabletop, they cannot but become widespread (in a matter of a few campaign years), and the very nature of warfare will change. Instead of mid-18thC. wargames as me know and love you'll end playing (historical or steampunk) Victorian games with minis in tricorn.

Thus *for me* I'd keep such 'advanced' devices very inefficient -mostly expensive encumbrances. 'Age of Enlightnement' Rulers fond of mechanics, engineering and 'progressive' technological 'breakthroughs' would keep trying & fielding them, but their repeated failures (at least in eficiency to cost ratio) would prevent them from soon becoming a common feature of 'Tricorn'battles.

Of course it's *your* game! You're totally free to ignore (or accept) the 'logical' long-term consequences of efficient steamtanks and machineguns on Lace Warfare!

Discussion developped on my blog
compleated by a comment ('Reply from Monte-Cristo to Tradgarland') to the "A few previous posts updated" most recent post.
On the blog you'll also find descriptions (*without* any discussion of tabletop rules) of various such war engines in the 4 posts "MC Mil R&D": I-Weapon Systems; II-Ground Mobility, III-Naval Warfare, IV-Air Mobility.


abdul666lw07 Jan 2008 1:19 a.m. PST

Gray Ghost,
you really *SHOULD* open your blog or website, or at least join a Yahoo group where you could post all these intringuing marvels you keep teasing us with!

The SOCDAISY group would be perfect for your 18th Century style games with balloons, Da Vinciesque war engines and regiments with Beers names & standards…

Grelber07 Jan 2008 4:57 a.m. PST

The tricorne era had a low literacy rate, and few folks had much technical background. Given any sort of points system for building your army, the first conveyance might cost, say, 10 points. The second would cost not 10, or even 9 (economies of scale), but 20, because youve tied up most of your excess mechanical/engineer types operating and maintaining the first one, and you have to train new guys. And so on as you increase the force. Moreover, this arm couldn't grow quickly due to the need for training--didn't they figure a year to train a good infantryman, and two to train a cavalryman or gunner?
As abdul666lw pointed out, they would have been rather inefficient. You wouldn't have the power to crush through saplings or up steep slopes, so they would have been limited to roads or level ground, unable to climb stream banks or break down stone walls, particularly if they were wheeled and not tracked (another invention, there).
You'd want some infantry specially trained to operate with them, who would--for example--rush forward and tear down the stone wall separating fields while the conveyance provided covering fire. An opportunity to design uniforms, if such things appeal to you.
Fun to speculate about!

abdul666lw07 Jan 2008 7:43 a.m. PST

"An opportunity to design uniforms, if such things appeal to you."
Vehemently supported! BTW, I guess you already know David's so convenient and useful Uniform Templates ?

"Fun to speculate about!"
How true!

Please keep us informed.

The Gray Ghost07 Jan 2008 12:15 p.m. PST

The way I figure it's a one shot weapon with the tank having to return to a safe place in order to have it's muzzle loader reloaded.

abdul666lw07 Jan 2008 2:39 p.m. PST

Fairly reasonable.

Then, if mounting a light caronade (not *that* 'futuristic even by WAS times) inside a long vehicle, the recoil would push it back enough inside to be reloaded under cover?
(mobile mantlet at the front, like on a warship's porthole).
Would work well with steampower – the engine being at the rear of the vehicle. You can ever have the coal in a 2-wheels tender in tow.

With horses (or oxen?), unless you manage to have them pushing the armored wagon, they would block the line of fire, I'm afraid?

The "Troika Kampfwagen":
( = )
has horses in front under 'armor', but a cannon high enough to shoot over them would make the contraption too top heavy; now, with a light howitzer in a casemate of sorts…?

Keep working on the idea, it deserves it -and then keep us informed, please!


abdul666lw07 Jan 2008 11:52 p.m. PST

Rules-wise, I doubt the contraptions would be able to shoot on the move ('modern' tanks were in practice 'move OR fire systems for decades), [Anyway, would probably be allowed to fire only on alternate periods, even if motionless] so they would better work by pairs shooting in alternance.

Now, if the main gun can be reloaded from the inside, not only the vehicle would not have to fall back to cover for the reload, but it would keep moving forward during the reloading 'move / 'period'. Shooting only in alternate periods would fit with the difficulty of reloading in the cramped space of the 'hull'.

Usefulness? Mainly as *direct support for infantry* attacking in 'difficult' conditions (just like early WWI tanks); e.g. Frederick II lamented about the bloody cost of attacking villages.
WWI tanks were also supposed to open passages across the barbwire for the infantry: it would make sense that the less advanced ones of Lace Wars time would, on the opposite, as Grelber wrote, need pioneers to open them passage through low walls and hedges. Pioneers following on foot or carried in Hussite-like wagons?

A caronade muzzle-reloaded inside the vehicle would require length but little width. If the contraption can be large enough (allowed by steam power) it can keep a reasonable width / length ratio, allowing a rank of infantrymen on either side, shooting through loopholes for 'point defense' / all around (well, almost) shooting in street fighting.

Hussite war wagons were mainly intended as *anti-cavalry systems*, forming laagers where and when required (mobile blockhouses / mobile infantry squares behind cover). Artillery wagons (either animal- or steam-powered) with an *axial* gun, as endvisaged here, would not be very suited for that use, but what about the Late Renaissance 'organs' specially devised to built 'on the spot' anti-cavalry barriers? *Not* ribauldequins, as 'organ' earlier implied, but 4 – 6 superheavy muskets ('amusettes in 18th C. parlance) individually swivel-mounted along an element of palisades carried on 4 wheels. Some even had a raisable mantlet for protection, and chevaux de frise could be transported.

As for direct support of the *Cavalry*, now, a British 'Flying Artillery' patent of 1798 proposed a coach armed with twin-linked (shortened) swivel guns mounted on a pylon in the center of the vehicle
Arc of fire limited by the head of the driver, but with a steam engine at the rear of the vehicle and the driver, no longer needing to see over the horses, sited lower, arc of fire would be 360°…

Fun to speculate about, indeed!

abdul666lw08 Jan 2008 1:00 a.m. PST

For direct support of Cavalry (at least on flat, clear terrain) I proposed [sept 25 comment to post
link ] to convert Eureka ‘Triumphapedes'
into chariots (the man in front driving instead of pedaling): the light ‘Rattler' into a 2-horses one that can received Da Vinci's ‘man mincer'
the heavier ‘Thunderer' into a scythed 4-horses chariot, Persian-fashion
Link to illustration:

The combination of fire support (Puckle's machinegun or cannister-shooting ‘amusette') and ‘infantry mower' would prevent infantry from forming squares –almost impregnable to cavalry, but overdense targets. Well, at least that's the theory…

This thread nicely complements a previous one about ‘18th C. Air Balloon War' TMP link : both dealing with what I call ‘Lacepunk wargaming'

The Gray Ghost08 Jan 2008 4:25 p.m. PST

I freind suggested it would be best employed to clear heavily defended places, like a wagon lager, for the attacking infantry.

abdul666lw10 Jan 2008 2:06 a.m. PST

Two possible categories of Munchausenian Lace Wars contraptions, corresponding to 2 clearly different types of mission:

-direct support of *infantry* attaching heavily defended place {laagers, villages, cultivated areas crii-crossed with low walls..): heavy, ponderous vehicles, steamtanks or their horse-pushed (?) equivalents. Exactly the initial role of WWI tanks, as a gimmick to break the stalemate of trench warfare.
Horse-pushed types cannot reach the weight (& protection) of steam-powered ones, so would correspond to the Renault F17 and the Whippet tankette -'infantry tanks' still. Specialized 'infantry tanks' were still part of the official doctrine of some (rather retarded, armored warfare-wise) major armies in 1939, such as the French and British (?) ones.
'Panzergrenadiere /Sturmpionere' could escort them in 'APC' (Hussite war wagon type; would probably be too expensive to have them steampowered).

-direct support of *cavalry* (more or less the initial role of armored cars; in France 'fast' tanks of the mechanized cavalry were still officially 'automitrailleuses' in 1940).
Either a light coach as in Sadler's design of 1798 (2 axles), or an adaptation of ancient chariots (1 axle) as suggested by Da Vinci (which I combine / merge with 'Triumphapedes' to have some fire support capacity).

Historical but almost equally Munchausenian on a Western European battlefield: zamberek camels and jingal elephants….

abdul666lw31 Jan 2008 2:31 p.m. PST

In a related vein, what about the (historical)
Oliver Evans' 'Orukter Amphibolos' (1805)
The 1st motorized vehicle in America, and certainly the 1st self-propelled amphibious vehicle. Designed as an '"amphibious digger" (dredge), it was from the onset described as full of military potential:
"The Orukter Amphibolos measured 30 feet long by 12 feet wide, and was intended to carry a number of soldiers across borders and onto enemy territory.  Its versatility was in that it could be boarded on-shore, travel across great spans of water, and then arrive back on land and continue on as a truck."

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