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Author Topic: Multi-Chamber Guns  (Read 1266 times)


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Multi-Chamber Guns
« on: 24 January 2021, 19:26:33 »
Multi-chamber guns were developed from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, but were abandoned. In essence, a multi-chamber gun is a gun with multiple, auxiliary firing chambers along the length of the barrel that detonate behind the shell, accelerating it (in theory) to speeds unobtainable by a conventional gun of similar size. Traditional propellants weren't well suited for it - other than the initial kick, the gun used solid rocket fuel in the auxillary chambers to help push the slug faster and faster down the barrel. Though it's clear the concept would have worked, enabling heavier, faster and longer ranged shells, it was an idea whose day simply never came. By the time the technology was beginning to mature and the impediments to its construction (primarily a matter of timing the detonations) were being overcome, the niche for such a gun had evaporated. Extreme-range canons had been made obsolete by airpower and rocketry, no armor existed that would necessitate the kind of armor-piercing potential such a gun would have, etc.

The guns also had several downsides. First, they were immense, both in weight and length. Though if they'd been invested in maybe they could have been miniaturized, they outmassed guns of comparable size and the closest to a military-grade version ever built, the German V3, was mounted on an entire hill. Secondly, they were extremely tedious to reload - the aforementioned V3 achieved a whopping 4 round per hour in fire rate. They also generate a lot of heat. These problems could have been minimized with enough time, but there's really never been a reason for engineers to work on the MCG concept since the 40s, so it never happened IRL.

However, the unique circumstances of Battletech provide these ridiculous weapons with an actual niche! Many planets, especially those in the periphery, are attempting to fight 26th century opponents with 20th century technology, and the vehicles in Battletech could potential fit a downsized, over-engineered version of the MCG. For those who can't even construct fission reactors (and thus can't fit their vehicles with the electricty needed for gauss weaponry), an MCG is probably the closest they can get to anything even approaching the range and armor penetration of gauss weapon. For the lunatics trying to pass off industrial mechs armed with Heavy Rifles for military hardware (looking at you, Meridian Manufacturing) this might be one of the few ways their primitive industrial bases can produce something that might actually kill a bugmech or two.

I don't have a statblock for these (because I'm still new to the game and have no idea how to balance these things), and I don't know if anyone would even dream of fielding them outside the lore (never met anyone but me who likes playing with retrotech and industrial mechs - most people like equipment that's half-decent, strangely) but I think there's something to this concept. Long range ballistics, with damage increasing the closer the mech is to the target. Extremely slow firing (a single shot per round might be faster than it should fire), produces a ton of heat.

« Last Edit: 24 January 2021, 19:28:30 by MDFification »


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Re: Multi-Chamber Guns
« Reply #1 on: 25 January 2021, 14:25:03 »
I think there's some potential here, but not as an anti-mech weapon. Given the rate of fire and general immobility these might make the best bet for an anti-dropship weapon to defend a world against pirates or such.
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Re: Multi-Chamber Guns
« Reply #2 on: 25 January 2021, 17:49:39 »
Heck of a thing to *aim* though.
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Re: Multi-Chamber Guns
« Reply #3 on: 26 January 2021, 01:30:26 »
The other fun is the following problems can occur:
  • Each of the smaller charges has to reload correctly
  • The gun should not fire until all of the smaller charges are in place
  • Far more ejection ports to allow for the smaller charges to be removed
  • Potentially 2 sizes of shot required to be manufactured (the main shot with the shell in it and the smaller charges as well), so a ton of this ammo would cost more due to higher complexity
  • Each side chamber needs an ammo feed mechanism, so you have more locations that can break
So the gun might get more range be lighter, but it would be more vulnerable to impacts and could get critical hits even without through-armor-penetration (i.e. simply hitting the location without a TAC could render the weapon inoperative).

As always, trade-offs

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Re: Multi-Chamber Guns
« Reply #4 on: 26 January 2021, 01:57:31 »
Sounds like a She-Va (sp?) Gun from Hell's Faire, by John Ringo.

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Re: Multi-Chamber Guns
« Reply #5 on: 06 February 2021, 09:28:03 »
I could see it being reduced in size. I can also see the rate of fire being worked out so it'd fire every turn. I'm also not sure if a Mech or standard vehicle could mount it. I would think it'd be bulkier than the Long Tom Artillery. But if it could be reduced to that size, would it offer any improvement over current weapons?

As is I'm not sure it'd be that practical since it can't be aimed. I would think that the 16-inch HARP gun would be more practical.