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Fluff question about Railguns...
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 14:12   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Fluff question about Railguns...

Specifically, Railgun Submunitions. Does anyone know if they fire at the same barrel speed as the regular round? Because, if they do, theoretically (not in game balance), they should have a better AP. I mean, a hypersonic shotgun blast? I saw some numbers on this, and a solid slug would literally explode into plasma when it strikes, even at a measly two to four (can't remember which) km/s. We can easily manage 1.5 km/s now, without melting the rails or anything (the main limiting factor in a railgun, apart from power), and you would assume that Tau railgun tech is significantly more advanced than ours. 10 km/s will be feasible for us with a bit more development, so say a modest 15 km/s for Tau railguns, and higher melting points for the slugs.

Think about that for a second. Fifteen kilometers a second.

That would allow a slug to go through capital ship armour like a fist through wet tissue paper, both from the initial force and the cloud of plasma generated picoseconds after, and certainly allow submunitions to go through powered armour. I mean, there's only so much defense you can pack on to man-sized armour, so a submunition round could probably be AP 3 or even 2! Now I understand why this isn't so in game terms, but can anyone tell me why, in fluff, submunitions don't slaughter any Marine battleline?

Apart from the fact that they usually surprise the enemy and don't fight pitched battles against well-prepared armies until far into the campaign, at which point they might well have blown up all the Hammerhead hangers from orbit.
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 14:30   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

Well, gameplay wise, that would be cheap like hell.
From a Fluff standpoint, though, I can explain.
The term: Submunition, means "Secondary Ammunition." This means that after the initial shot, the fired ammunition turns into a different weapon. It's like a cluster bomb. You drop a single bomb, then a few seconds later, that bomb splits up int a large number of smaller bombs. Submunitions work the same way. You fire a large slug, then when it reaches the target point, it explodes, raining death and destruction on a very large area.
The power of the explosion is less affected by the fact that the slug was moving 15+ km/s. The explosion drastically reduces the speed of the procetiles to something like 1-2 km/s, thus, significantly recuding the power output, and also the size of the ammunition. Something with only the mass of a single newton has very little penetration capacity, even if it's moving at such high speeds.
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 14:45   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

I think this is kind of like lasguns: the laser goes slow enough to be seen because 'the fluff just says so'. Maybe the munitions slow down after they split up?

Just as long as we're dicussing tau weapons and fluff, what is the fluff reason for a pulse carbine to pin people?
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 14:48   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

the underslung grenade launcher
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 14:51   #5 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

Obviously we'll never know for sure, as it's all made up, but I always envisioned the submunition round as a canister filled with shrapnel of some sort. *In order to let the shrapnel disperse enough to affect an area, maybe the round's velocity is greatly reduced? *You're not going to get much dispersion at 10+ km/s.

As for the pulse carbine question, the carbine has an underslung grenade launcher that launches photon grenades. *I'd prefer something a little more useful, but as is, it's not really worth taking.
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 14:54   #6 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

A solid volley of flashbangs for the Carbine.

The Railgun blast is as stated before; the "bundle" of submunitions detonates and scatters outward on secondary vectors, reducing the speed drastically. *The Heavy Railcannons found on the Manta in Imperial Armour 3 have S7 AP3 submunitions, reflecting increased initial velocity and higher calibler of the fired rounds.
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 15:01   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

> * (i LUV this kinda fluff!)

Solid shot Railgun fire would definately be a kinetic-kill weapon, literally a solid shot. much like todays Depleted Uranium Penetrators on our Abrams Tanks. its just a big ol DART. and that dart is NASTY.

(real life warstory warning Desert Storm, Battle of Medina Ridge: Iraqi tanks are hull down behind a large sand dune 'ridge' using the cover to shoot out with imputiny..... sounds good, right? then the Army shows up.... with Infra-red sights. cant see the tanks, but CAN see their exhaust plumes rising up from behind the ridge.... so guess what they did? the DU shots were fired THROUGH the sand dune, and THROUGH the tanks!!!

this i belive is the inspiration for the whole Railgun-tech. our tanks do it pretty slowly, and its still powerfull.

now, submunitions... you can use several real-world allegories: Cluster Bombs, Tomahawk Submunitions, Minelaying Artillery Shells, MIRV Nukes.... lets go each one (ive got the time.. :P )
-Cluster bombs: dropped from a plane going say 400 mph... the bombs aerodynaics slow it down as it falls, and even has a drag parachute... and when it 'opens' at about 100 feet, it does a controlled wipe-out: this tumbling spreads the little bombs out nicely.
-Tomahawk: this one is simple. since the missile is cruising along under its own poer, it simply opens up its little 'bomb bay' and drops the munitions very B-17 style
-Minelaying Artillery: this one is prolly closest to Railgun. the artillery shel has to be a normal shell, and the firing of the gun is a normal firing. no way to slow down the process, yaknow... the shell is packed full of teeny mines, tough little suckers that can withstand the 2000G launch forces placed upon it. the shell zips out, and it was rifled, so ya its spinning. theres a little self-destruct charge in the shell that simply tears apart the skin of the shell (really by tearing a hole and letting the air rip it away), and whoosh! little mines flung out in all directions... but not TOO far, just enough lateral momentum from the spinning to make their vector a little off from the main vector... huh?? well, everything lands pretty much close together.
- MIRV Nukes: heh heres one i bet no one realizes: nukes on Subs, lets say Polaris 4's.. SIXTEEN WARHEADS in each one! when the missile gets to the top of its tragectory arc, the warheads spread out and go their own calculated way... one to this city, one to that city, etc... seperate warheads could actually land 1000 miles apart, since the apogee is so high, and halway around the world.

whew! ok im done ranting. these are todays world anecdotes, but they totally apply. enjoy! *
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 19:02   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

Physics hour!

Submunitions have a lower mass, so their kinetic energy transfer to the target is less, and also is distributed over a greater area. Because they spread over a greater area and are again lower mass, they are also going to be more affected by friction with the air they pass through, so their velocity by the time they reach the target will be much lower.
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 23:32   #9 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

The hammerhead rail gun is like a shot gun. U have a slug or a scatter shot thats is highly concentrated ur goung to deal massive dmg. But if u use a scatter shot that spreads alot, the power and ap will decrease. In the Alien vs Predator 2 computer game, the shot gun has 2 rounds, the scatter shot and the slugs. The slugs kill alien drones in one hit any where, but with scatter shot it take 2-3 shots and depending on how close u r to the drone. The rail solid shot is meant for power and penatration. The subminitons is meant for hitting multiple targets. Being a lot less concentrated than a solid shot, the power and ap will drop significantly.
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Old 07 Aug 2005, 23:50   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Fluff question about Railguns...

I'd have to say you are wrong with this one ShasOClinton.
While what you say is true for shotguns (in fact, real shotguns can be loaded with solid-shot rounds), this is not a possibility for Railguns.
The basic properties for Railguns would in fact, produce horrable effects if the ammunition loaded is in many small bits before it's even fired. The shots cannot be guided with a rail of any sort, and the chances of a mis-delivery is high. Even with the Tau's advanced technology, the feasability of a reliable "shotgun" style Railgun is near impossible. It'll damage the weapon as it's fired, and can cause the entire equiptment to be destroyed.

Another thing to remember is that the template is the same at any range. A shotgun at this caliber would normally use a small blast template within say, 30", and a large one at 30"+. The ammunition would spread a large amount, but only at near it's maximum distance. The other problem is that the power of the shot would decrease at longer ranges, as there are fewer pellets that would impact any single area. Like this, it'll be a complex setup as a S8 AP3 weapon below 30", and S6 AP5 past 30". It makes the game difficult, and it's pretty stupid to put a shotgun on a tank. Tanks fire at medium to long range, generally. Their effectiveness goes down significantly if the opponent can make mad sprints at the tank and set a demo-charge on the thing.
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