Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
PittTheElder
Feb 13, 2012

Yes, it's like a lava lamp.



SquadronROE posted:

Our World War was pretty amazing. Not sure how accurate it was, but it was very dramatic.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3419604/
Yeah, Our World War was solid.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003



Fun Shoe

So here's a rollup of a paper on Ukraine. It is an unpublished draft as presented to the US Army at Johns Hopkins a couple of weeks ago. It is titled "Lessons Learned from the Russo-Ukrainian War, Personal Observations", by Dr. Phillip A. Karbler, to be published by The Potomac Foundation (presumably). Everything in here is unclassified obviously. Absolutely none of this is mine or my opinions or anything of the sort.

I did a little bit of research on this guy and "The Potomac Foundation", and have kind of a...mixed view, I suppose. He's pretty clearly an old-school neo-con style hawk/interventionist and the tone of his paper seriously reflects this, so bear that in mind I guess. A lot of the citiations in his paper are...his own works, so that's...cool? He also claims to have made 15 different trips to front line Ukrainian units from March 14 to Jun 15 which is a lot of trips.

Anyway

He discussed four primary observations:

1) UAS all over the place. This has been predicted for quite a while, but I think pretty much everyone is surprised at just how many and how effective these things have been. High level airspace is so contested that it is virtually unsurvivable by manned aircraft, but tactical UAS have nearly free reign over lower altitudes. Russia has employed 14 different UAS models, none of which have an attack capability. Rather, they're being used as a comprehensive ISR enabler, particularly for artillery (which will be discussed in a minute). By using several different types of UAS with different sensor and imaging capabilities, they can effectively identify and mensurate targets without line of sight, and can then conduct BDA almost in real time. The biggest success has been directly pairing small tactical UAS with MLRS, which gives them the ability to mass area fires more quickly than anything we've (probably) ever seen. The big weakness of the UAS is that they aren't terribly flexible in their planning, which means that if targets are not in their ISR range, they can't effectively adapt search patterns in real time.

UAS defeat has been challenging for both sides. MANPADS aren't effective against tactical UAS, so most hard kills have been through good old machine gun or autocannon direct fire. EW is more effective: the Russians have been soft-killing Ukranian UAS with some manner of targetable EW to great effect. Both sides have also had to figure out how to camouflage, deception, dispersion, etc...all skills that have seriously atrophied in most militaries since the end of the Cold War.

2) Artillery has been unbelievably lethal. The author claims that 85% of casualties from both sides are coming from indirect fire. Russia in particular has invested heavily in MRL systems over the past 20 years, and these, targeted by UAS, have been doing most of the destroying. They are using, on various systems, DPICM and mines, top-attack guided submunitions, and thermobaric warheads. They're massing area fires effectively with a mix of warheads and the result has been quite a bit worse than anyone expected: there are several accounts of entire mechanized battalions being virtually annihilated in minutes; the armored vehicles now being the most vulnerable things in the area instead of a relatively safe place to be.

The second trend of note is the use of SPGs as direct fire systems. In particular the 2S1 system has done very well for both sides: it is very mobile, reliable, and the 122mm shells are relatively easy to move and supply. One particularly notable rule is the 2S1's success as a counterfire platform versus AT positions: once AT weapon is fired its position is revealed, and 2S1s are apparently standing by to deliver direct-fire HE at ranges past those of the AT missiles or guns. This has had a serious effect on how well ATGMs work, in addition to some other things discussed later. 2S1s are also being used in antiarmor roles; they obviously can't be used like tanks as they're not armored as such (and their loss rates reflect this), but they have been successfully engaging older tank models with direct fire.

The third artillery trend is how thoroughly decentralized both sides have made their artillery units. Maneuver battalions have been permanently attached tube artillery batteries; "battle groups" (I think BCT-sized units) have been given MRL batteries. This hasn't really been seen before, and the main reason is that the combat is so widely dispersed over a large geographic area that centralized artillery cannot really service all of the territory required.

The fourth artillery trend has been the effectiveness of counterfire radars, and of particular note, counter-counterfire radars. Russia sent its best CFRs, and they've been very, very effective in a traditional CF role...especially when coupled with loitering UAS. Perhaps more surprising, counter-counterfire, using the emissions of a radar to target it, have been very effective. Basically, when Ukraine has turned on a radar, it has been targeted very quickly thereafter, sometimes in as little asa 30 minutes. Since counterfire by definition requires persistent surveillance, this has essentially crippled Ukrainian long range counterfire efforts.

Finally, both sides have resorted to entrenchments and hardening in scale not seen since WWII in order to protect themselves from the artillery. Combined entrenchments are covering almost 2000km, and includes both infantry and hardening for artillery.

3) Older hand-held AT weapons have been worse than useless. Ukrainian forces are primarily equipped with AT-5s, and they've basically been bouncing off anything with ERA, which is...everything. Deal has been the same with RPG-7 and -29. This leaves the Ukranian infantry pretty helpless against armor, so they've been relying on artillery to do the job. This is fine if it is targeted effectively, but effectively targeting moving mechanized forces is a very challenging task. One major aside to this discussion: the T-90 has been deployed in very limited numbers and it has been brutally effective: T-90s have been deployed in company sized strength at least five times, in each such engagement Ukranian forces took twice their "normal" losses and have yet to kill a single T-90. The biggest game changers with the T-90 are all weather precision targeting with the main gun, and its active defense system.

4) Infantry vehicles are death traps. BTRs and BMPs aren't much more than targets, and there are a lot of things out there targeting them: RPGs, ATGMs, tanks, and most lethally, artillery. Guided top-down MLRS warheads have been able to wipe out entire battalions of light IFVs; soldiers are now riding on top of the vehicles to be able to un-rear end more quickly, or resorting to fighting dismounted in order to get away from the IFVs.


So that's about half the paper, the rest of it is describing strategies for both sides and some engagements.

Koesj
Aug 3, 2003





Well that's me eating my words about uninteresting tactical lessons learned! Also I probably need to pedal the gently caress back with regard to my replies about the relevancy of armor on the modern symmetric battlefield way upthread. If even half of that paper reflects reality on the ground, I'm totally lost on how a military should be structuring its mechanized forces in 5 years time, let alone 15.

Then there's the benefit of stuff like this putting earlier developments in their proper context, which makes the current Ukrainian crisis very relevant to the thread as well. Look at how right proponents of projects like Assault Breaker turned out to be, or the efforts at small-scale combined arms integration done by several Cold War-era armies!

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



bewbies posted:

EW is more effective: the Russians have been soft-killing Ukranian UAS with some manner of targetable EW to great effect.

I feel smug because I'm kinda surprised nobody's used this technology before this point.

bewbies posted:

4) Infantry vehicles are death traps.

Not surprised by this, either - the technology of blowing stuff up advances hella fast.

tokenbrownguy
Apr 1, 2010



How does one even reach the position of being able to make such sweeping comments on a conflict currently in progress without being in a advisory role in one of the militaries' involved?

Jobbo_Fett
Mar 7, 2014

It would be a sad error in judgement to mistake me for a corpse.


Clapping Larry

WW2 Data

The 70mm, 81mm, and 90mm Japanese mortar projectiles are in the spotlight today. These include the mortar rounds fitted with a parachute, which come in a variety of types to fulfill different roles. The 70mm anti-aircraft mortar projectile is another interesting round used.

As for the Russians, we get to start looking at 76mm projectiles! There are 36 separate entries, so prepare yourself for a lot of 76mm talk, which I'll try to fit in 5 or so updates. If I haven't noted it before, any talk about using obsolete weapons is because of the manual and the time between its writing and the end of World War 2. Its also important to note how many different guns could fire the same round, which is a big help for logistics and supply reasons. For example, the UO-353M could be fired from 11 different 76mm guns/weapons.

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003



Fun Shoe

Nebakenezzer posted:

I feel smug because I'm kinda surprised nobody's used this technology before this point.

Pretty much everyone taking an interest in the UAS issue is pursuing electronic solutions. Even the Iranians have managed to do it successfully in the real world.

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



Nebakenezzer posted:

Not surprised by this, either - the technology of blowing stuff up advances hella fast.

I think the biggest problem has been the lack of armor involved. BMPs aren't tissue paper, but everything I've read about their armor indicates that anything bigger than small arms is a serious danger. The BMP-3 has an optional armor add-on kit, but that only protects it from .50 caliber heavy machine guns out to 200 meters. Rocket launchers, artillery, tanks...pretty much anything bigger than an assault rifle will tear up a BMP or BTR without add-on armor, and anything bigger than a .50 cal will tear up the ones that do have them. Armor in general is heavily reliant on infantry support, but that does little good when an ambush with cheap RPGs that can be fired from inside buildings instantly incinerates all of the mounted infantry. It does even less good when artillery comes down and the fragments zip right through the armor.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


chitoryu12 posted:

I think the biggest problem has been the lack of armor involved. BMPs aren't tissue paper, but everything I've read about their armor indicates that anything bigger than small arms is a serious danger. The BMP-3 has an optional armor add-on kit, but that only protects it from .50 caliber heavy machine guns out to 200 meters. Rocket launchers, artillery, tanks...pretty much anything bigger than an assault rifle will tear up a BMP or BTR without add-on armor, and anything bigger than a .50 cal will tear up the ones that do have them. Armor in general is heavily reliant on infantry support, but that does little good when an ambush with cheap RPGs that can be fired from inside buildings instantly incinerates all of the mounted infantry. It does even less good when artillery comes down and the fragments zip right through the armor.

Well, the report, as far as I understand, states that it's not the ATGMs or dinky RPGs that are the problem, it's the artillery. Bomblets and whatever other crap is raining down would probably gently caress western IFVs and APCs, too.

Poor Ukrainians

chitoryu12
Apr 23, 2014



JcDent posted:

Well, the report, as far as I understand, states that it's not the ATGMs or dinky RPGs that are the problem, it's the artillery. Bomblets and whatever other crap is raining down would probably gently caress western IFVs and APCs, too.

Poor Ukrainians

Against a BMP or BTR, an RPG-7 or RPG-29 is anything but "dinky". Against modern tanks, sure. But the APCs and IFVs involved in Ukraine are liable to come apart when you shoot anything bigger than a DShK at them....and that's assuming they have up-armor kits installed.

Then you have poo poo like the Israeli Namer, which is basically a tank without a turret.

Raskolnikov38
Mar 3, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


bewbies posted:

Pretty much everyone taking an interest in the UAS issue is pursuing electronic solutions. Even the Iranians have managed to do it successfully in the real world.

Wouldn't just developing a drone tracking sensor to add to MANPAD missiles be easier and cheaper?

FAUXTON
Jun 2, 2005

daef


PittTheElder posted:

Yeah, Our World War was solid.

Thirding this, the dramatization made the topics extremely easy to relate to, especially the one where the kid in the Pals battalion basically gets broken by some pretty awful coincidences and just goes full-on war face. I'm hoping whoever took the idea and ran with it got greenlit for more of this with other war docs.

AbleArcher
Oct 5, 2006


Frostwerks posted:

Given the importance of armored breakthroughs in both the westfront and notably ostfront of ww2 and how much the factor of running riot on the opposing side's c&c, support, et al, could long range artillery be pressed into direct fire against enemy armor? I know the 88 had great velocity since it was an aa platform and poo poo and that sure didn't hurt it against thumping armor (no idea if it was used as ground support though), but if a bunch of :insert long list of german afv variants here: started rolling over saplings while your big guns were dialed in against targets 10 miles away, could they depress them and light them up?

Gun-howitzers are a distinct class of weapons with indirect and direct fire ability and in WW2 would include the British 25-pounder and Soviet 152mm M1937. US 105mm howitzers engaged tanks over open sights at Salerno and Mortain. The main problems with howitzers firing directly are suitable sights and ammo, possibly damaging the recoil mechanism and limited (often no) lateral traverse.

ulmont
Sep 15, 2010

IF I EVER MISS VOTING IN AN ELECTION (EVEN AMERICAN IDOL) ,OR HAVE UNPAID PARKING TICKETS, PLEASE TAKE AWAY MY FRANCHISE


bewbies posted:

So here's a rollup of a paper on Ukraine. It is an unpublished draft as presented to the US Army at Johns Hopkins a couple of weeks ago. It is titled "Lessons Learned from the Russo-Ukrainian War, Personal Observations", by Dr. Phillip A. Karbler, to be published by The Potomac Foundation (presumably). Everything in here is unclassified obviously. Absolutely none of this is mine or my opinions or anything of the sort.

I did a little bit of research on this guy and "The Potomac Foundation", and have kind of a...mixed view, I suppose. He's pretty clearly an old-school neo-con style hawk/interventionist and the tone of his paper seriously reflects this, so bear that in mind I guess.
He certainly seems to have some friends on the Internet:

quote:

Say It Ainít So, Phil
From touting thousands of hidden Chinese nukes to inflating Russian threats, a certain open-source "expert" is doing a disservice to those of us who actually try to fact-check our intelligence work.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/19/say-it-aint-so-phil-ukraine-russia-open-source-analysis

Fangz
Jul 5, 2007

Oh I see! This must be the Bad Opinion Zone!


Isn't Ukraine a bit of an odd war, given (IIRC) the absence of truly effective air power on both sides?

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005



100 Years Ago

Apparently I bollocksed up and posted tomorrow's post yesterday, so let's now follow it with yesterday's post tomorrow. The BEF blew a gigantic loving hole in the ground for more than shits and giggles this time, the Italians kept slogging up that hill, and Louis Barthas reflected that now only he and Terrisse are the only remaining comrades who first went into the trenches together.

MikeCrotch posted:

The Great War BBC series is pretty great, it's from 1964 so it's dated, but it has a lot of footage and images i'd never seen before and was soon enough after the war that there are interviews with survivors. You can find the whole series on Youtube IIRC.

Yes, you still can. As you might expect for something that's 50 years old, there's a few points of out-of-date scholarship and it's very Anglo-centric, but it's still a great series.

Films: Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory is pretty hard to beat. The 1930 All Quiet on the Western Front is great, if you don't mind watching stuff that old. Lawrence of Arabia has a very Hollywood relationship with the truth, but that doesn't stop it being a great film. If you can deal with subtitles, then watch Black and White in Colour. And I thought Our World War was great (that stupid "humiliation" caption at the end of episode 1 aside) and did a fantastic job of feeling different. (The documentary series it's based on, Our War, about the blokes in Afghanistan, is also well worth a watch.)

Arquinsiel
Jun 1, 2006

"There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first."

God Bless Margaret Thatcher
God Bless England
RIP My Iron Lady


SquadronROE posted:

Our World War was pretty amazing. Not sure how accurate it was, but it was very dramatic.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3419604/
I somehow managed to never find episode 3 and just sort of forgot about it, thanks for reminding me.

I also just discovered a series called The Passing Bells. Anyone seen it?

Keldoclock
Jan 5, 2014

by zen death robot


bewbies posted:

The big weakness of the UAS is that they aren't terribly flexible in their planning, which means that if targets are not in their ISR range, they can't effectively adapt search patterns in real time.

Very interesting. Typical solution to improving range is wireless baloons or air-to-air relay, but of course with contested airspace these are difficult. Possible to extend range with more sophisticated antennas?

bewbies posted:

counter-counterfire radars
I see MiTM attack vulnerabilty; spoofing or jamming paired with activation of small network for control of a small geographical area.

Nebakenezzer posted:

I feel smug because I'm kinda surprised nobody's used this technology before this point.

What? This technology has been around for about 8 years now. I don't see much military use, but its pretty common for hobbyists to try to kill drones. It takes some technical skill, of course; I suggested to our forum's own separatists a particular implementation of drone hijacking software but he was unwilling to modify the software and trial it, I guess because there is a lack of good programmers who understand avionics hardware in his organization and he doesn't want to self-teach.

There are a few different ways of doing it; the favorite is spoofing the control signal, but of course you can also jam the 2.4ghZ video feeds, try to induce failure in fragile components, target the controller instead of the UAS rx.

EDIT: I read bewbie's comment, yeah what he said.

Raskolnikov38 posted:

Wouldn't just developing a drone tracking sensor to add to MANPAD missiles be easier and cheaper?

No. Such a sensor would be very sophisticated(read:expensive and unreliable), heavy, and dangerous to its users.


EDIT ⇊ I swear, this is modern weapons chat, not ongoing war chat

Keldoclock fucked around with this message at 20:16 on Jul 20, 2015

my dad
Oct 17, 2012

this shall be humorous


Please, for the love of God, don't start ongoing war chat here.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005



Arquinsiel posted:

I also just discovered a series called The Passing Bells. Anyone seen it?

Yeah, it's shite.

Well, okay, that's probably unfair. I may go back at some point and watch it again after I've forgotten the obnoxious trailers. It's the exact polar opposite of Our World War. It's actually more like dance than a serious TV drama, which is what it was being trailed as. Very symbolic and dreamy (and sanitised for pre-watershed audiences) and happy to play fast and loose with chronological accuracy. The contrast with the advertising just made me write it off as wanky shite, but it may well work better if you're expecting wanky shite to begin with.

Trin Tragula fucked around with this message at 20:19 on Jul 20, 2015

Rodrigo Diaz
Apr 16, 2007

Knights who are at the wars eat their bread in sorrow;
their ease is weariness and sweat;
they have one good day after many bad

Interesting to hear how lethal the T-90s have been. When was the last time Russian or Soviet crews engaged in tank-on-tank engagements, other than 2008?

I'm also impressed by the effectiveness of the SPGs and the ineffectiveness of the -29s.

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003



Fun Shoe

Raskolnikov38 posted:

Wouldn't just developing a drone tracking sensor to add to MANPAD missiles be easier and cheaper?

Small UAS are just too small and fly too slow to make missiles a simple solution. You need a radar guided solution with a very, very good sensor and seeker, which usually implies expensive. There isn't much hope that IR sensors will ever be able to discriminate something like a tactical UAS sufficiently to be useful, although we are trying to address it (in the US at least) by adding a proximity fuse to Stinger.

Rodrigo Diaz posted:

the ineffectiveness of the -29s.


Uh....yeah. I thought this was strange so I went back and looked and it was actually RPG-26, typo on my part. There's no mention of -29s being used by either side.

bewbies fucked around with this message at 20:34 on Jul 20, 2015

Nenonen
Oct 22, 2009



bewbies posted:

Uh....yeah. I thought this was strange so I went back and looked and it was actually RPG-26, typo on my part. There's no mention of -29s being used by either side.
Isn't Vampir an export only system?

Rodrigo Diaz
Apr 16, 2007

Knights who are at the wars eat their bread in sorrow;
their ease is weariness and sweat;
they have one good day after many bad

Nenonen posted:

Isn't Vampir an export only system?

no

Tevery Best
Oct 11, 2013

Hewlo Furriend


Trin Tragula posted:

Yeah, it's shite.

Well, okay, that's probably unfair. I may go back at some point and watch it again after I've forgotten the obnoxious trailers. It's the exact polar opposite of Our World War. It's actually more like dance than a serious TV drama, which is what it was being trailed as. Very symbolic and dreamy (and sanitised for pre-watershed audiences) and happy to play fast and loose with chronological accuracy. The contrast with the advertising just made me write it off as wanky shite, but it may well work better if you're expecting wanky shite to begin with.

Don't go back, it's garbage pretty much all the way through. The plot is dull, the characters are so similar you keep confusing them for one another, and the entire thing is just chock-full of ham-handed morals. It also has a Polish subplot for Educational Reasons, and it is simplistic, stilted and bad. I watched it with my ex; she didn't like how bad the romance was, I didn't like how it repeated basically every single WWI cliche while remaining so detached from the conflict itself that you could sub in pretty much any other war and only have to change a few throwaway lines. One plus: shows that the Eastern Front has, in fact, existed before the Russian Revolution.

Koesj
Aug 3, 2003


my dad posted:

Please, for the love of God, don't start ongoing war chat here.

Again, the report in itself is very interesting for putting developments over the last couple of decades in a new perspective, though I'd agree that dronechat is better served in the airpower thread.

Raskolnikov38
Mar 3, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


bewbies posted:

Small UAS are just too small and fly too slow to make missiles a simple solution. You need a radar guided solution with a very, very good sensor and seeker, which usually implies expensive. There isn't much hope that IR sensors will ever be able to discriminate something like a tactical UAS sufficiently to be useful, although we are trying to address it (in the US at least) by adding a proximity fuse to Stinger.

Hmmm so something like the Shilka is the easiest drone counter?

echopapa
Jun 2, 2005

El Presidente smiles upon this thread.

My dad is looking for a good popular history of the Marianas campaign. Any suggestions?

Mycroft Holmes
Mar 26, 2010

To the Moon! For Queen and Country!


I hope the Ukrainians win. How are they getting resupplied, if they are at all?

Koesj
Aug 3, 2003


Why can't he ask this himself? He just posted here a minute ago

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003



Fun Shoe

Raskolnikov38 posted:

Hmmm so something like the Shilka is the easiest drone counter?

Guns have been the most effective kinetic kill mechanism but something like a Shilka isn't optimal for two reasons: first, the optical sensors on even off the shelf UAS are so good that they can do their surveillance mission from standoff distances....5km+, which is way outside the range of any lightweight gun system. Second, it is a lot more firepower than you need in close quarters. It was designed to put up a wall of lead to shoot down fast moving, low flying jets. You don't need that much firepower to shoot down a drone that weighs a couple hundred pounds and is flying at 30 kts...if you just hit it once, with just about anything, you're going to knock it down.

Most of the kinetic solutions that are being looked at right now are missiles, but lower ROF, heavy guns with proximity fused shells (FlaK 88 anybody) are also on the table. Really, the best potential solution all things considered is probably directed energy (lasers, microwave, etc) as you can zap the thing from forever away and you don't need much energy to get the job done, but that stuff is a ways off from being operationally viable.

Slim Jim Pickens
Jan 16, 2012


Raskolnikov38 posted:

Hmmm so something like the Shilka is the easiest drone counter?

It can probably get rid of one, but I feel like you'd be doing the drone a favour by exposing your expensive aa platform.

Ensign Expendable
Nov 11, 2008

Lager beer is proof that god loves us


Pillbug

Mycroft Holmes posted:

I hope the Ukrainians win. How are they getting resupplied, if they are at all?

It's a civil war, both sides are Ukrainians. As for resupplies, the stocks of Soviet era milsurp are enormous, plus they're trying to unfuck whatever arms factories haven't been sold for scrap yet. Also there's foreign aid in the form of boots, helmets, old vehicles, etc.

Raskolnikov38
Mar 3, 2007
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


bewbies posted:

Really, the best potential solution all things considered is probably directed energy (lasers, microwave, etc) as you can zap the thing from forever away and you don't need much energy to get the job done, but that stuff is a ways off from being operationally viable.

You know I really preferred the jetpack future over the laser weapon future.

Slim Jim Pickens posted:

It can probably get rid of one, but I feel like you'd be doing the drone a favour by exposing your expensive aa platform.

Eh they're not too pricey, the radar system is probably the most expensive since the hull and guns are cheap.

SeanBeansShako
Nov 20, 2009


Tevery Best posted:

Don't go back, it's garbage pretty much all the way through. The plot is dull, the characters are so similar you keep confusing them for one another, and the entire thing is just chock-full of ham-handed morals. It also has a Polish subplot for Educational Reasons, and it is simplistic, stilted and bad. I watched it with my ex; she didn't like how bad the romance was, I didn't like how it repeated basically every single WWI cliche while remaining so detached from the conflict itself that you could sub in pretty much any other war and only have to change a few throwaway lines. One plus: shows that the Eastern Front has, in fact, existed before the Russian Revolution.

Yeah, It wasn't very good at all really.

At least it looked nice.

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010




Raskolnikov38 posted:

You know I really preferred the jetpack future over the laser weapon future.


Eh they're not too pricey, the radar system is probably the most expensive since the hull and guns are cheap.

The guys hanging out in it are not free.

Rent-A-Cop
Oct 15, 2004

I posted my food for USPOL Thanksgiving!



KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

The guys hanging out in it are not free.
Conscripts are practically free.

P-Mack
Nov 10, 2007



Taiping Tianguo


Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
Part 7 Part 8 Part 9
Part 10 Part 11 Part 12
Part 13 Part 14 Part 15

I know I promised the Western encounter with the Taiping, but I misplaced my sources on that so you're getting the Nian Rebellion instead. Thanks for all the great feedback, and thanks also to everyone posting good stuff in this thread.

Gangsta, Gangsta
The Nian would both precede the Taiping and outlive it. Precisely when the movement began is impossible to say. One theory has that the organization started from the remnants of the White Lotus society, whose rural insurrection was finally defeated in 1805. Even the name "Nian" is difficult to trace, and the men who would later be called Nian were identified in this early period as Red Beard Bandits, Bare Fist Fighters, Sword Wielders, and a wide variety of names. The word "Nian" has several etymologies, the most likely being a meaning simply along the lines of "band" or group. The Nian did not, like the Taiping, formulate an ideology and then use it to recruit followers to an organization. The Nian instead existed for a long period before they could really be classified as a rebel movement. For the period from 1800-1850, the word Nian refers not to a single organization, but rather to a type of bandit or criminal society. A huge variety of bandit gangs, local crime chieftains, and underground secret societies would be classified as Nian.

Disorder was widespread as the Qing declined, but a variety of factors would make the Huai valley region stand out and contribute to the growth of the Nian in this area. Geographically, the labyrinthine system of rivers, as well as the many hills and mountains, made it easy for bandits and rebels to evade government troops. The Yellow River, with its unpredictable and devastating floods, would regularly create swarms of homeless refugees with little option but to join criminal organizations for survival. As the government became more bankrupt and less effective at both maintaining dikes and providing disaster relief, the Nian activity would increase. Severe floods of the Yellow river in 1851 will push the Nian over the fuzzy line from crime to rebellion, concurrent with the increasing disorder in Guangxi and Guangdong.



In many cases, banditry was a family affair. China had a strong, patriarchal, clan system, and when an elder decided to join a Nian group for protection, an entire clan of hundreds or even thousands would join with him. This group recruitment enabled the Nian to grow very quickly in times of disorder. These Nian controlled communities would be indistinguishable from any other village most of the time, but when the campaign season started hundreds of villagers would arm themselves, march on other villages, and encourage "contributions" from the local populace. It would soon become apparent that being a Nian-controlled village was preferable to being their victims, and over time more and more people would join up. Where multiple Nian chiefs came into contact, they could either fight it out, or, more often, come to an accomodation and agree on how to divide territory and booty. In this way, what starts as a collection of small time bandit gangs becomes a province spanning, hierarchial outlaw organization with more direct influence on many people's daily lives than the government had.

Salty dogs
The transportation of grain on the grand canal would be a target for corruption and banditry, but even more important was the trade in salt. The Qing increasingly relied on its salt monopoly to finance the government, but the higher the tax, the more money could be made by smugglers. Many Nian bands originated as salt smugglers, as they could charge huge prices to "protect" shipments and still be cheaper than the legal salt. The amount of money made from the salt trade could then be deployed to make a Nian organization more or less above the law. Officials were easily bought, and a Nian chief could pay enough men to form a small army, creating a huge headache for a magistrate who wanted to deal with a Nian by force. Appealing to higher levels of government for more men was a risky business, as the imperial court did not like receiving bad news. It was easier to come to a live and let live arrangement with Nian. Depending on the relative power of the individuals involved, this could mean the Nian paying bribes to local officials, or local officials reduced to paying protection money to the Nian. In one case, a Nian chief maintained a collection of disabled beggars. In the event that the Nian depredations reached the point that the magistrate had to hang someone to maintain face, he would negotiate with the local Nian chief and some of these poor unfortunates would be turned over to fill the nooses.

Where officials did take on the Nian, eradicating the bandits was a difficult task, as they would melt away as troops approached and return upon their departure. No one could afford to keep troops in the field for very long, and the depredations of imperial troops might drive more people to join the Nian. The best case scenario was to simply frighten the bandits off so they fled to another county or province, at which point they are officially someone else's problem. For this reason, border areas where 3 or more counties met became favorite haunting grounds of the Nian. Sometimes local defense associations would be formed in the villages to resist the Nian. Occasionally this worked. Other times, the resulting militia would be too weak to fight off bandits, but more than strong enough to fight off tax collectors, so that organization of local militia weakened imperial control rather than strengthening it.

Guerilla Unit
As open revolt breaks out in 1851, the Nian will use cannon to siege and take cities, but the main threat they present to imperial forces is in their mobility. The Nian will usually flee at the approach of large imperial armies. They move quickly, have little trouble getting supplies from the populace, and easily outdistance imperial pursuit. Imperial troops get much less cooperation from local people, are less familiar with the terrain, and slow themselves down with thorough looting. Once imperial troops are tired, hungry, and spread out in a straggled column after a long march, the Nian abruptly turn back and quickly descend upon them in lightning fast flank attacks. The Nian attack is often be divided into many small units, creating an intentionally confusing and disordered battlefield that enhances the panic of the beleaguered imperialists. The Nian are renowned both for their cavalry (more so after 1856) and their "long spear" infantry, disciplined pikemen who charge fearlessly into gunfire and shatter the imperial lines once they make contact.

The Nian were usually at a disadvantage in terms of cannons and guns, and for this and other reasons relied heavily on attacking only when they could ensure an overwhelming local advantage. The Nian were reputed to be quite capable in pitched battle, but they knew they could not afford to slug it out on equal terms with the nearly limitless manpower of the imperial armies. The fact that they attacked only when they could ensure victory contributed both to their success as well as the imperial tendency to vastly inflate the actual Nian numbers. Defeated imperial generals would report hordes of hundreds of thousands, but in reality the actual numbers of the Nian armies were likely in the low thousands, especially in the early years of open revolt.

The disorder in Henan and north Anhui could be likened to that in Guangdong and Guangxi, and like the southern provinces, would need only a spark for banditry to cross the line from criminal activity to political rebellion. As the 1850s began, the scattered Nian chiefs already had the manpower and the resources to present a serious threat to the dynasty. They needed only organization and leadership to unite into a formidable army, and motivation to galvanize them from local self interest to political rebellion against Manchu rule. The former would come from Zhang Lexing, a charismatic and vigorous Nian chief from Anhui who would make his way to the top of the heap. The latter would come from the example of the Taiping.

All out war
Following the arrival of the Taiping to Nian territory in 1853, the scattered Nian bands coalesced into something more closely resembling an army. A grand conference of 58 bands established a supreme leadership with Zhang at the head of the organization. The Nian established a headquarters at Zhihe (present day Guoyang), near Zhang's hometown. Government troops would sometimes occupy the area, but they could never hold it for long with the countryside infested with Nian, and as soon as the army departed the Nian would return. While the Nian strategy would be criticized as "roving bandit principles" by later historians, the fact that they always returned to reestablish headquarters at Zhihe suggests that did have plans toward establishing some kind of political organization in the territory. This is reinforced by the grandiose kingly titles the leaders would claim, like "King of the Great Han with Heavenly Mandate". Finally, the decision of the bandits to grow out their hair indicates that they were prepared to abandon any pretense of existing within the imperial system, and were instead looking to end the Qing. They had once dyed their beards red and painted their faces to hide their identities. Now, with long hair and flamboyant flags, the Nian sent a clear message that they feared no retribution.

Aside from "gently caress the mods Manchus", the Nian did not have a political or ideological program anywhere near as rigorous as that of the Taiping. Nian chiefs could and did defect to side with imperial troops in some cases, and the war in north Anhui gets vaguely 30YWish with the number of double and triple crosses going on, the impressment of captured troops and civilians, and generally muddled allegiances on all sides. The Taiping would confer titles on the Nian chiefs which were gratefully accepted, but nominal fealty and occasional assistance did not mean the Nian would obey any orders issued from the heavenly capital. The movements would continue in parallel, but remain distinct. This lack of greater cooperation represents a potential missed opportunity by the Taiping. On the other hand, the Taiping had their reasons for maintaining distance. The Nian were much less disciplined, much more prone to pillage and harass the populace, and they really, really liked opium. For these reasons, while they would assist the northern expedition, relatively few Nian volunteered to join the stricter Taiping permanently in 1853.



The Nian were a thorn in the side of the imperialists in the early years of 1850-1854, but not an existential threat like the Taiping were. The Nian will become a much bigger problem in 1855. Devastating floods of the Yellow river changed its course drastically, the mouth moving hundreds of miles to the other side of the Shandong peninsula. The resulting famine will send thousands of people, in the absence of any effective imperial relief, into the hands of the Nian. Some would join to express their dissatisfaction with the imperial government, but many more simply because the Nian would be more likely to have food. A third category would be more or less kidnapped into Nian service. With their army numbering over 50,000, the Nian would now be much more than a localized bandit problem.



I didn't go too in depth on the personalities or timeline of the Nian rebellion, since much of the juicier stuff happens after 1856 and I don't want to get too far ahead of the Taiping. We'll check back in on the Nian later. Next will be Red Turbans or maybe I'll actually do that bit on the Western encounters.

vains
May 26, 2004


Ensign Expendable posted:

It's a civil war, both sides are Ukrainians.

lol

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


quote:

The movements would continue in parallel, but remain distinct. This lack of greater cooperation represents a potential missed opportunity by the Taiping. On the other hand, the Taiping had their reasons for maintaining distance. The Nian were much less disciplined, much more prone to pillage and harass the populace, and they really, really liked opium.

If I remember correctly, the general sense in the confessions of Taiping commanders after the war was that, despite everything, they felt they made the right choice in keeping the bandits at arm's length and bringing them into the fold would have been even worse.

  • Locked thread