Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 925: The Air Defense System

Chapter 925: The Air Defense System

Chapter 925: The Air Defense System

Translator: TransN Editor: TransN
Roland had mentioned several problems that needed to be solved. The lack of an air defense network was as big of an issue as the transportation problem.

The importance of achieving air supremacy stuck in his head. He had learned this lesson from the history of the wars in his previous world. An army who had the aerial advantage was always able to launch an attack from any point at any time, and before the invention of the radar, no one on the ground was able to detect enemies coming from the vast sky, let alone defeat them. Bearing that in mind, he planned to enhance his army's air defense capabilities as soon as possible. Otherwise, he would never be able to build an artillery position near the Taquila ruins.

He guessed that after Lorgar's escape from their pursuit, the demons had probably had flown to the border of the Western Region several times to investigate, and they would have likely concluded that most of the residents of Neverwinter were common people. That was why they thought they could repeat the old trick that they had used in the first Battle of Divine Will.

The demons' investigation teams had somehow managed to avoid the sentry posts in the Impassable Mountain Range as well as the God's Punishment Witches who had gone deep into the Barbarian Land. If Sylvie had not taken over the scouting job, the frontier guards would not have been able to detect the approaching demons until they came near the city wall.

The battle on the city wall had highlighted what was lacking in the current technology, and proven that the sky had already become the biggest vulnerability in Neverwinter's defensive line.

After all, the people in this era could hardly imagine aerial forces, let alone countermeasures for aerial attacks.

Roland had been pondering over the air defense problem ever since the moment he had seen the demons with their flying Devilbeasts, but he had never expected them to come to the city so early. He had not started the development of air defense weapons yet, or even finished building the Impassable Mountain ground defense line and the telephone network.

The fact that the frontier guards had not been able to shoot down any demon or Devilbeast during the earlier incident did not surprise him at all. It had been his decision to use revolving rifles to fill up the blind zones of the machine guns and the cannons for now, and they had proven to be quite effective in suppressing enemies on the ground. However, resulting from the low pressure in the bore, a revolving rifle had a relatively short range and a low accuracy, which became a very serious defect against airborne enemies. Furthermore, its hit rate was low and its firepower was limited, since each of its cartridges could only contain five bullets. Last but not least, it had no suitable tripod or aiming tool for targets in the sky. With these defects, it could hardly serve as an ideal ground-to-air weapon.

He felt that he had better begin to replace all the revolving rifles with bolt rifles.

It was already part of his plan, but Anna was unable to mass-produce that many parts that were necessary for the large-scale production of the bolt rifles. Given that, he had only equipped the sniper team with bolt rifles for now. Fortunately, the workers had started to get familiar with the operation of the new machine tool which was put into use recently, and they were already able to assemble rifles on their own. Once they could improve their work efficiency and guarantee the quality of the products, the output of bolt rifles would be substantially increased.

Though bolt rifles could shoot farther and more precisely than revolving rifles, they could hardly serve as ground-to-air weapons. Their rate of fire was even lower than the revolving rifles, and their tracer ammunition, which had a complex structure, was not easy to manufacture, especially when the ammunition production line was already working at its full capacity. Even if he began to focus on tackling the key problems for the mass production of bolt rifles now, he would need several months to achieve this goal. By the time he succeeded, the Months of Demons would already be over.

Under these circumstances, he decided to create new ground-to-air firearms as the primary air defense weapons and use the bolt rifles to assist these new weapons in a fight.

Based on the existing technologies, he was not able to equip his army with any kind of high-tech fire control system, so his only choice was to create a hail of bullets to stop the enemies in the sky.

The easiest way of achieving this effect was to convert some of the Mark I type heavy machine guns into anti-aircraft machine guns, which had been a tried and tested solution in the modern world's history and would not increase the burden on the manufacturing and logistics sectors. A Mark I type HMG equipped with an aiming tool and an adjustable tripod would be able to shoot low-flying enemies out of the sky.

In any case, his Mark I type heavy machine guns were easy to convert, as he had planned for the air defense usage in advance and had equipped them with air-cooled barrels instead of a water-cooled casing when designing these machine guns.

A heavy machine gun was well-suited for hitting long-range targets, while also having a remarkably high hit rate at shorter ranges. It fired its shells extremely fast, and thus had overwhelming firepower. With these features, they could effectively suppress the spear-throwing Mad Demons who rode the flying Devilbeasts. If the city wall had been equipped with two such converted Mark I type machine guns before the previous skirmish, the outcome would have been very different.

With this plan in mind, after he concluded the meeting, he immediately headed for the Arithmetic Academy instead of returning to his office.

This new academy was located to the south of the Castle District, next to the chemistry laboratory. Most of the researchers working in the academy were the former Astrology Association members. Being venerated as a school of sages, it had recently been attracting quite a lot of the talented citizens who had just completed their primary schooling. It received almost 20% more job applications than the Alchemist Workshop next door.

Roland speculated that the frequent explosions and accidents in the lab might also have played a part in discouraging prospective job applicants.

Astrologer of Dispersion Star welcomed him in the main hall.

After bowing to the king, the Chief Astrologer began heaping praise upon the profoundness and beauty of mathematics.

"Your Majesty, please forgive me for nagging you. That book you gave me, 'Analytical Geometry', must the deities' work! I had never imagined that I'd be able to see the world so clearly with my mind instead of my eyes. Even if I were to one day become dim-sighted from old age and lose the ability to observe the starry sky, I would still be able to describe the world just as clearly as before. For example, now I can even describe your wavy hair, your clothes, and even your boots using numbers and symbols..."

Fearing that he would go on and on, Roland interrupted him. "Have you mastered all the knowledge in the book?"

"I can't say I've mastered all of it, but I did master most of it." Dispersion Star calmed himself down and continued. "In the past six months, apart from the calculation missions you gave us, we've been working on a huge project. We recorded the stars' celestial coordinates and our previous observation results in the mathematical language. Now we can be sure that the Star of Extinction, the Bloody Moon in your words, always stays at the same spot in the sky. It doesn't move at all."

Roland had once paid close attention to the Bloody Moon, whose coming was said to herald the beginning of the Battle of Divine Will. Now that the demons had already begun to take action, he no longer had any interest in the star.

"I've come to give you a new mission. You'd better finish it as soon as possible." He said explicitly. "It's not a pure math problem like the previous missions. You need to solve a practical problem for the First Army."

"Do you mean creating something like the cannons' firing table?"

"It's more complicated than that," Roland shook his head and said. "You need to work with the craftsmen to produce a tool which can predict the movement of a target in the sky. You'll need two equations to describe this kind of movement. One describes the horizontal displacement of the target and the other describes the vertical displacement. I have a general idea of the design, but you have to determine the specific parameters through more detailed measurement and calculation."

What Roland wanted was an aiming tool for the new ground-to-air machine guns that could determine a target's distance and forward direction in the sky. With these parameters, a soldier could adjust the weapon to get the proper high angle and advance angle, and then riddle the flying enemy with bullets. This aiming tool was a manually operated mechanical device rather than a piece of electronic equipment, so all that the shooter needed to operate this weapon would be an accurate firing table and some basic knowledge of mathematics and geometry.