Thursday, 23 June 2016

After the Heat Ray - Martian War scenarios.

I've noticed that our VSF posts, particularly Mars related, shoot up the list.

Tony and your humble author are attending a Wyverntales Larp of the same name in sunny Exeter soon and I prepared this document as part of my back story.  I was trying to think of the post Dunkirk period in the UK when many maverick ideas were proposed and some even implemented to repel the expected invasion.  Odd vehicles were developed, and can be seen, at Bovington.  One proposal was large multi nozzle flame throwers to deny beach landings.

I welcome input, and please, if you play a scenario let's share it!

Draft Statement prepared by Professor Grey under instrucion of M for:

Home Secretary the Right Honorable----
Royal Commision
Horse Guards Room 3

Sirs. Please refer to attached schedule.

Group Two was initiated immediately after the arrival of the first cylinder, prior to the evacuation of the Royal family, Parliament, services military and civil. The core personnel was gathered from the military intelligence services, Royal Society and the Adventurers Club.

Our immediate action was to send a team to investigate the first landing. The prominent members were killed in the first assault. Fortunatelly their assistants had the presence of mind to interview survivors and set up an observation post.

First action. A group, incling myself and staff, was located to the Bovington army  research camp in Dorset. This was due to excellent rail and sea communication, plus availability of naval, marine and army support.

From the analysis of after action reports made available from the first encounters a rapid response force was proposed. This would be carried by special train to the site of any further incursion:

Train with passanger and cargo carriages capable of carrying all such personnel and materiel.

A force of 200 drawn from Pioneer battalions, Royal Engineers and civilian navvies and shipbuilders.

Bovinton was tasked to produce a fast tractor that would be capable of impeding the screw cap of a cylinder.

Once the force was emplaced, they would strive to impede and encase the cylinder in fast setting concrete, an earthen bank or engulf in a large confragation in order to kill the inhabitants dependent on local resources. The latter option was seen as hazardous as the flames may attract unwelcome attention of other invaders.

Unfortunatelly, due to the burden placed on the railroad system by evacuations and loss of railway personnel and materiel this solution was unable to proceed, but the force was used to rapidly produce fortifications at key positions.

A Birmingham jeweller, Mr Issac Hayes, suggested that a collar of silver solder could be made, to use the ambient heat to impede the screws progress. This simpler solution was developed by deployment of a smaller crew of tractor born engineers. This proved invaluable and the northernmost cylinder was succesfully sealed. Although the Martians were able to regain the cylinder, the crew were lost and progress slowed, suggesting that valuable equipment was damaged in the process.

As information came in, we were able to tailor our response. Our aim was to show the invader that we would resist by any means possible and to force them to expend resources in defence.

Big game hunters, game keepers and snipers were gathered with serving and retired members of 95th rifles, Indian army and Ghurkha rifle regiments. Country houses and gunsmiths had rifles of quality requisitioned. These were dispatched to points that allowed the ambushing of the invaders. The survival of the hunter was aided in every way possible by use of water bombs, tin baths and any other means that could be contrived.

When the red weed was seen to be choking canals and rivers this was percieved as an opportunity. Barges were loaded with coal tar, turpentine, methylated spirits and coal dust. These were hastened south with the aim of turning the canals and rivers into burning obstacles. Trials proved that the weed provided an excellent whick and burnt with a thick, oily smoke. This method was succesfully used in the defence of Birmingham and Oxford.

New false fortifications were erected with use of quicklime and magnesium bombs intending to blind the pilot of a war machine. Eathen banks were constructed with layers of bottled water in order to provide resistance to the heat ray. Artillery emplacements were equipped with stationary engines capable of putting up a spray of water or steam in order to protect from the heat ray and black smoke.

Volunteer crews from all the services, retired personnel and termanilly ill were deployed with fast firing guns and machine guns. These were located in hidden positions with the aim of sniping at any passing machine.

Once the presence of the collecting machines was known, volunteer runners were recruited. These were armed with nitro glycerine sticky bombs with the aim of stalking and damaging the machines to facilitate the capture of the machine and pilot. The first deployment was proceeding well, until one volunteer tripped and fell. The machine was driven off at great speed by the explosion and afterwards has not seen without at least one guard tripod.

A similar force was recruited from condemned criminals for use against tripods in an urban environment. On first use a confusing battle ensued with reports of several explosions and at least one Tripod was carried away damaged. Unfortunatelly, none of the criminals were returned for debriefing. Afterwards the Tripods showed a marked reluctance to enter urban areas without extensive use of the heat ray and black smoke.

Second phase.

With the invader effectively contained and a team of mathematicians proving able to predict the approximate position of each cylinder prior to landing and the resources of Empire beginning to be felt it was proposed to move on to a more aggressive phase.

Bovington had been experimenting with land trains after the Russian Imperial Navy had succsesfully tested a working prototype. The new Mark 3 was put into construction with a layered wooden shell that was soaked as protection against the heat ray and a pipe network that used the heat produced for added power or a steam blanket that protected the crew from the black smoke. Armourment comprised two fast shooting, accurate 3 pounders equipped with solid shot and grapeshot for close quarters.

A similar tractor was constructed with a high signal tower in order to facilitate accurate naval and artillery fire.

Smaller tractors fitted with an explosive ram torpedo device are under testing.

Use of mirrors as heat ray defence is in development, awaiting the capture of a working device.

Third phase.
With aid being received from all over the world, it has been noted that foreighn agents have been infiltrating into the invasion area. We can only presume that these are assessing our response and will attempt to capture enemy personnel and materiels for their own study. This cannot be allowed to happen and steps have been taken to illiminate this threat.

Sir, I beg to remain your most humble servant.