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Author Topic: A possible new type of Airship Soldier...  (Read 11447 times)
akumabito
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« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2010, 09:22:13 pm »


 Just get 'm on top of an enemy airship and they'll do the shredding..
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Kalinor
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« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2010, 03:15:40 pm »

how about backpack steampowered gyrocopters, and arm them with pulse firing coil gun carbines to give them some punch. Tho personaly i would just use an airship with superiour numbers of guns and blow the dam thing out of the sky, although the idea opf glider troups does sound interesting, equip them with light bombs and fast firing guns you could have a lethal airborn strike team (if anyone has evere seen the old action force toys i am thinking something like the C.L.A.W. atleast if memory serves me well its that)
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Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2010, 07:43:03 pm »

I´m assuming such airship soldiers would be used in operations where you need the other airship to remain intact.
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Maj. Clive Hathaway
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« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2010, 08:28:49 pm »

Precisely.... for boarding actions where you need to take the other ship. Or perhaps hostage situations.
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Atterton
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« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2010, 08:42:56 pm »

The proper practical solution would likely just be a zip line, not flamboyant enough I suppose.
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Charleson Mambo
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Puerto Rico Puerto Rico


Cyberpunk is a Hello Kitty claymore mine.


« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2010, 02:40:06 am »

I have recently been thinking of something similar, although in my case it was from the point of view of a source of military surplus gear for a Freelance Kraken Hunter.

I really like the idea of a cavorite plate for lift. Perhaps appropriately shaped to double as a control surface?

For thrust I was thinking of Ether Screws (a kind of mechanical reactionless drive*). I find that the rubberier the science the less calls of "Oi that wouldn't work!" you get.


Charleson Mambo

* I got the idea from a GURPS game supplement, namely: "GURPS Spaceships 7: Divergent and Paranormal Tech" which you can get here: http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG37-0126
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hardlec
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Solutions do not need Problems


« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2010, 02:35:16 am »

I am not suggesting that “fantasy” is wrong or less worthy of due consideration.  I am going to draw a distinction.  My comments are more-or-less realistic; take it for what it’s worth, if anything.  No magical lift wood, etc. 

Boarding was a significant military option until the age of Ironclads, and even into the 21st century, boarding is an important technique. 
On a daily basis, ships of the US Coast Guard and similar forces around the world conduct boarding actions, sometimes in opposed hostile situations involving the exchange of gunfire, against criminals.  Sorry for all the Johnny Depp fans, but Pirates are criminals at sea.  Boarding actions involving Airships will almost certainly occur in a reality where Airships are common means of transportation.

Pirates will want to take ships, not destroy them.  Navies will want to rescue ships, crew and passengers.  Away Boarders!

What will be the easiest way to make an opposed boarding action?  Cables and grapples hauling the ships close alongside.  On the sea, grappling is complex; ships move in two dimensions and alter speed.  In the Air, grappling will be more complex, if for no other reason than there are three dimensions to consider.  Another HUGE concern is that Airships are going to be lightly built, and getting the grapple attached to the right part of the structure could be more than a little tricky. 

Once the ships have grappled, there is still plenty of use for individual Marines with limited “flight” ability.   One use will be for attacks and counter attacks against “flanks” or to get troops into the enemy rear.  One big use for personal flight powered or otherwise, is the ability of the Marine to survive a fall off the ships.

In the face of reality, we are all aware that it is impossible to make a spring-powered personal autogyro that will do much more than slow a descent to a possible survivable level.  In a suspension-of-disbelief situation, okay, the backpack autogyro can work, but has problems.  Our intrepid hero has to wind his rotors at difficult times, etc. 






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SpeakerForTheDead
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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2010, 03:00:53 am »

I'm in the process of taking AFF classes to get certified in sky diving so that I can go alone/ use the squirrel suit for base jumping. I'm on like 16th jump... and you know what's funny? I thought of that exact same thing! I hadn't gone so far as to picture people dropping like bombs from the wings, but I thought of airborne ship combat and wondered about boarding airships. I imagine it would be tricky to get the landing right on but the commandeering of rival airships would be amazing.
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pakled
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2010, 06:43:58 am »

Parachutes were known to the Victorians (though there wasn't much call for them...Wink
Also, I  do believe  that Otto Llilenthal (sp?) had a sort of hang glider around that time.
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hardlec
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Solutions do not need Problems


« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2010, 02:20:12 pm »

The link below is the Wikipedia article on Sir George Cayley.  His “Parachute” may serve as a starting point for a flying suit.  Models of this concept have been made; I believe one was made with concrete.  They fly.  They also have the look that seems to fit in Steampunk

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Cayley

A modern dragonfly ornithopter:  A rubber band on a wooden frame.  I think this has potential as well.

http://www.thinkbotics.com/DSCN3349.MOV

This is a link to an ornithopter site that has a lot of visually appealing devices.

http://www.ornithopter.de/english/index_en.htm
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akumabito
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2010, 02:45:07 pm »

Typically, the envelope of a rigid airship is just a hull, containing more gas bags. This means a zip line would be a viable option: just harpoon the other ship! Control your own attitude so that men can sail down to the other vessel. Then equip them with climbing irons on their boots for grip if they need to hold on to the envelope - cut a hole in it near a truss and in you go.. seems much more realistic than any other mechanical means of getting aboard another ship.. plus, when done under the cover of night, it would be quite stealthy as well.. (assuming no such thing as radar to detect the approaching airship)
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Maj. Clive Hathaway
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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2010, 05:24:12 pm »

A zip line would be practical, true, but only if the other ship is close enough. And should the zipline break or the other ship manouver away, well then you have a whole stick of boarders scattered to the wind. (Hey thats what they get paid more for, right?) Plus if you have to get your airship close enough to fire a grapnel over to the other ship, your craft is more likely to be spotted by lookouts. I think a hanglider or ultralight like apparatus would be ideal for boarding actions. You could deploy your troops from further afield or drop down through the clouds.
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MatthiasKoenig
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United States United States


« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2010, 07:35:04 pm »

 Hello all...sorry for the absence...had a family emergency that needed resolving...

I'm really impressed with the all of the thought gone into the responses...it's given me a lot to think about. I currently have a friend who lilkes to draw that is working on a design based on the squirrel suit....the only drawback is that she is also working full time, so it may be a while before I can get it on here...ah well, the joy of getting things for free, yes?

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hardlec
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Solutions do not need Problems


« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2010, 02:11:01 am »

Just a bug to bollix up the works:

Airships are extremely lightly built.  A grapple is likely(?) to simply rip out anything other than a major structural support, and even catching a support is as much a potential for disaster as success.

Any airship of size is going to be a collection of many gas bags.  The ability to inflate or deflate the gas bags and/or balloonettes (these are bags of air, not gas, and used as ballast) is how an airship captain adjusts altitude (some) and keeps the ship in trim(mostly.)

Heaving a hook through the structure of an airship may lead to many things other than the desired results.

If I get above and ahead of my target, I can drop specially trained Marines to land on my targets canopy and then have them attach anchors to the target, to which I can run lines.  The bulk of the troops will transfer by zip-line.

Harpoon guns will be used, but with indifferent results.

I've studied airship structure a lot, but I am interested in what others thing about harpoon/grapples ripping out of the target's structure.
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Mr. Bertram A. Lisney
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« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2010, 05:24:20 am »

I've studied airship structure a lot, but I am interested in what others thing about harpoon/grapples ripping out of the target's structure.

I think the notion is entirely plausible, and adds some complexity to the idea of airship-to-airship combat besides firing shrapnel into the oppositions balloons.
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Atterton
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« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2010, 06:23:05 pm »

I could imagine the airship might have a form of netting around the envelope, for workers to climb around on. Grappling lines could attach to that.
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hardlec
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« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2010, 10:18:24 pm »

Exterior lines would create drag.  They would probably not be used much. The standard practice, since Santos-Dumont, was to have interior "tunnels" for access.  Remember, in a bag filled with helium or hydrogen, there is no oxygen, people would suffocate.
(Also:  I'd build quick-disconnects into the net, I'd let the enemy carry the net away before it was used against me.)

Brilliant idea, though...

However:  we now create the notion that spies need to steal diagrams of the internal structure, to be able to successfully attach grapples.  Also, pre-boarding parties become necessary.  So the game is well afoot.
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akumabito
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« Reply #42 on: April 23, 2010, 05:29:45 pm »

Naww, you'd just need a grappling-hook-harpoon with multiple 'arms' that extend over a larger area, meaning the weight of the cable and boarding party gets distributed over a much larger area. Airships of Hindenburg proportions would have quite sturdy outer skin anyhow, so this would be a perfectly viable option. Say you've got a harpoon with foleded arms a meter in length, folded up for launch, but deployed when the harpoon strikes the target. The arms could be joined together with some form of netting. The total load would then be distributed over an area of over 3m^2. Should work.
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Count Alexander
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Traditionally crazy...


« Reply #43 on: April 24, 2010, 05:50:00 pm »

Bah. Marines! Pansies I say! All the do is lull about on the queens vessels, helping themselves to their share of drink and food, whilst the Royal infantry is in the thick of things!
Wink

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« Reply #44 on: April 24, 2010, 08:44:48 pm »

Bah. Marines! Pansies I say! All the do is lull about on the queens vessels, helping themselves to their share of drink and food, whilst the Royal infantry is in the thick of things!
Wink

I'm rather uncertain how effective the Royal Infantry would be when the battle's raging 2,000 feet in the air.
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von Corax
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Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2010, 03:21:52 am »

[...]
Heaving a hook through the structure of an airship may lead to many things other than the desired results.

[...]

Harpoon guns will be used, but with indifferent results.

I've studied airship structure a lot, but I am interested in what others thing about harpoon/grapples ripping out of the target's structure.

I don't think harpooning an airship would be as counterproductive as all that. If you've ever slept on an air matress with a hole in it, you know it takes most of the night before your back actually touches the ground. A harpoon into an airship's envelope would represent at worst a similar rate of leakage, and more likely a rate some orders of magnitude smaller. Even a half-dozen boarding harpoons would produce negligable leakage in an envelope large enough to warrant a half-dozen harpoons.

Here's how I imagine the operation working: First, the harpoon is fired into the enemy envelope. The head of the harpoon penetrates the envelope, the flange behind the head stops further penetration, and the spring-loaded barbs unfold to prevent pull-out.

Immediately, a rigger slides down the line to drive safety-hooks (similar in appearance to a giant stick-pin or safety-pin) into the envelope. Depending on the design of the hooks and the envelope, these need not penetrate the gas bag, and would provide a substantially firmer anchorage for the zip-line. The rigger, or another specialist, then drops a second line from the anchor and abseils down to the level of the gondola (possibly in the company of a rifleman), fires another grapnel/harpoon/whatever into the side of the gondola, and winches himself in to anchor that line to a suitable point of entry.

Finally, each Avian slides down the horizontal line, transfers to the vertical line, and drops around the curve of the envelope into the gondola. The slides are of course equipped with brakes allowing them to be clamped to the zip line if it should come free or break, as well as allowing the trooper to control his rate of descent and so avoid overrunninng the chap ahead of him, and each trooper also wears a small emergency 'chute, akin to the PFDs worn by modern Marines.

In typing this I have already spotted one simple but effective defensive tactic. The target craft, on recognizing the assault, need only ascend as quickly as possible so that the attacking Avians must slide uphill to complete the boarding...
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hardlec
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« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2010, 02:15:04 am »

I once figured out how much hydrogen a canopy would lose if you shot a belt of 100 .50caliber MG bullets into it.  The answer:  Not a lot.  The damage could be repaired with a roll of duct tape.

Stick my canopy with a barbed harpoon and I'll just move away from you.  The fabric will tear.  I'll slap a patch on it.  You may as well assail me with rude gestures.

The damage I see from a harpoon gun and/or grapple is going to be if you hit a structural member.  Will you be able to bend or break it?  Rip it out and carry it away?  That will cause major damage to the airship. 

My thinking is that you will have to land pathfinders on a target vessel to plant grapples that will grapple, and not be either ignored or so destructive they "sink" the airship.

Count Alexander:  Your attempt to comit suicide by Marine has been logged. 
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tophatdan
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« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2010, 04:51:20 am »



number 4 there with the thompson is what i call a Bee.

bees;
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

i think they are close to what we are looking at with jet packs, i dont know about the flight suits or flying squirell suits tho, seems to me that paratroops or even repelling from ropes would be just as effective, maybe not as cool tho.

honestly its just another way to deploy your 'drop troops' 'avians' 'air-marines' 'sky wolves' or whatever you prefer to call them...

still a cool idea tho.

i prefer the victorian era jet pack myself  Grin
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Count Alexander
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Traditionally crazy...


« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2010, 01:06:09 pm »

Bah! I will repel the very worst of enemies! A harpoon may do nothing but the royal canoneers will match your flimsy devices. Muahaha
Marines humbug!  Grin
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Steamgrue
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« Reply #49 on: April 27, 2010, 02:03:10 pm »

I would think air-marines would be basically the same as paratroopers in WW2, that said it would be fairly easy in a steampunk battlement with steam-powered gatling guns to mow down paratroopers.
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