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Mountain Gun

where a goat can go
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(+6, -2)
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"Where a goat can go, a man can go, and where a man can go, he can drag a gun", said General Phillips, before startling Fort Ticonderoga into surrender by getting two cannon set up right on top of a nearby mountain.

For more than a hundred years after that, mountain guns proved useful at the margins of various wars, often being taken to bits and lugged around on the backs of mules.

Unfortunately, it can take a long time to get up the mountain this way, and meanwhile you and your mule (and the goat) are (nowadays) vulnerable to snipers. So, for a generation now, fire support in places where big tracked vehicles can't go has been provided by helicopter gunships (OK, and planes too).

But with helicopter gunships you can hear them coming, you can see them coming and their armour is limited by the fact that they have to fly.

Hence I propose a thing like a giant robotic spider packing a howitzer. Most of its fuel, ammunition and probably crew could be carried in a separate tender vehicle (perhaps also with spider legs, but maybe shorter ones). This separation would enable the tender vehicle to hide in a nearby crevasse while the monstrous spider reared up over a ridge-line and took a few shots, before scuttling off in the classic 'shoot and scoot' style.

pertinax, Oct 20 2007

sniper https://www.youtube...watch?v=_05xrHV1cXA
[pashute, Aug 28 2016]

Kaiten https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiten
Not a path to career advancement. [8th of 7, Aug 28 2016]

Okha https://en.wikipedi.../Yokosuka_MXY7_Ohka
"Cherry blossom" ? [8th of 7, Aug 28 2016]


       No, I haven't read any Star Wars novels, and I wasn't thinking of a magical do-everything war robot, just a current-technology upgrade from a cannon and mule.   

       Having said that, I probably did have at the back of my mind the alien tripods which are common to 'War of the Worlds' and the 'Tripods' trilogy - but with a different number of legs.   

       Another influence was the Swedish S-tank (simplified vehicle, minimized silhouette, hard to shoot back at).
pertinax, Oct 20 2007

       I've had a similar idea about spider leg gun "pods" for the past couple years. Maybe I'll post it up here soon. I don't know why I haven't already.
rascalraidex, Oct 20 2007

       During WW2, the Germans experimented with both recoilless and rocket artillery for mountain combat. Both proved useful in their own way; of course, they also have shortcomings. Mortars have excellent characteristics, particularly because they fire in the upper register, minimising crest-clearance problems in hilly areas.   

       The problems are often as much with ammunition transport as the weapon itself.   

       If you can get line-of-sight on your adversary, it's best just to paint them with a laser designator and let a standoff missile from a drone do the rest.
8th of 7, Aug 28 2016

       //Most of its fuel, ammunition and probably crew could be carried in a separate tender vehicle//   

       I think that's a very bad idea. The separate vehicle wants to be as hard as nails. No point introducing a deliberate vulnerability into the system.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 28 2016

       Strangely, however, that was exactly the approach espoused by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1944-45 ...   


       // reared up over a ridge-line //   

       That's exactly what you don't want to do. Indirect fire is a tried and tested technique. The only thing that should be rising above the ridge line is the atillery observer's binocular periscope, to call back corrections for range and line to the mortar battery.   

       With modern mapping and location techniques, calling down a complete fire mission without even a couple of ranging shots is practical, providing sufficient allowance is made for air density/altitude, tube and propellant temperatures, and wind.
8th of 7, Aug 28 2016


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