98 - Final Harbor Question 3

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The trouble with the new Mark 14 torpedo was a big feature of the book. Neil_Njae posted an excellent video on the problems here: https://www.ttrpbc.com/discussion/comment/4959#Comment_4959 The first two years of the submarine war were dominated by these problems and finding solutions. Do you think it was too much? The author conflated things several different boats were doing about the problems into his Mako - was that a wise idea or not?

Comments

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    It's an element of the war I knew nothing about, before this book. Then again, I know next to nothing about most of the US/Japan war in WWII; my scant knowledge is more about India, Burma, and Malay.

    The conflation of several boats? That's fine as dramatic licence. Were the issues with the torpedoes, and the staff who produced them, as significant as portrayed? I don't know. The book read as somewhat of a polemic at times. I'm glad there were other things going on in the book to keep us away from just hearing about torpedoes again.

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    @NeilNjae said:
    It's an element of the war I knew nothing about, before this book. Then again, I know next to nothing about most of the US/Japan war in WWII; my scant knowledge is more about India, Burma, and Malay.

    The conflation of several boats? That's fine as dramatic licence. Were the issues with the torpedoes, and the staff who produced them, as significant as portrayed? I don't know. The book read as somewhat of a polemic at times. I'm glad there were other things going on in the book to keep us away from just hearing about torpedoes again.

    The issues were as significant as portrayed, but I think Homewood hugged that line-of-too-far tightly even if he didn't quite cross it - and I am a techie, son of an engineer and a professional technical writer/illustrator. Of course he lived it and we didn't.

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    I have to admit that I thought while reading the book that the whole "torpedoes were crap" line was just made up for dramatic effect! I get that homeland war offices can be riddled with bureaucracy and politics, but I didn't find it credible that these factors would be so great as to deny what was happening for so long in the face of so much feedback. But I guess it really happened. But at the time I did have the reaction "oh the torpedoes again" that you have both mentioned, and it didn't really come over as true. Which is unfortunate, really, seeing as it does really really seem to be true.

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    @RichardAbbott said:
    I have to admit that I thought while reading the book that the whole "torpedoes were crap" line was just made up for dramatic effect! I get that homeland war offices can be riddled with bureaucracy and politics, but I didn't find it credible that these factors would be so great as to deny what was happening for so long in the face of so much feedback. But I guess it really happened. But at the time I did have the reaction "oh the torpedoes again" that you have both mentioned, and it didn't really come over as true. Which is unfortunate, really, seeing as it does really really seem to be true.

    This reaction is really unfortunate, and something I half-expected. I am very familiar with this torpedo problem - it's a core concept in my submariners RPG thet the player characters have to deal with - and his emphasis is so angry that it seems over the top while I know it's entirely consistent.

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    Given his credentials, I didn't think he had made anything up. The intro does mention compressing events, and this kind of conflation would safely fall under 'storyteller's license'. I had no problem with it, and no problem with the amount of technical information; if anything, it contributed to my trust in the author.

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    @clash_bowley said:
    This reaction is really unfortunate, and something I half-expected. I am very familiar with this torpedo problem - it's a core concept in my submariners RPG thet the player characters have to deal with - and his emphasis is so angry that it seems over the top while I know it's entirely consistent.

    I think I got part-way through the book, started rolling my eyes at that author going on about the torpedoes again, and decided to check what the history of the weapons actually was. I was surprised when I discovered that the events in the book weren't too far off reality.

    Turning this to gaming: would it be fun to give PCs defective equipment? It may open up another avenue of conflict and give people a target to pursue on the home front. It may also be frustrating for players when their character fails through matters entirely out of their control.

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    edited April 7

    @NeilNjae said:
    Turning this to gaming: would it be fun to give PCs defective equipment? It may open up another avenue of conflict and give people a target to pursue on the home front. It may also be frustrating for players when their character fails through matters entirely out of their control.

    Yes, and yes. Absolutely! PCs always want the best equipment and assurances that everything will work properly. I don't always do either.

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    > @NeilNjae said:
    > Turning this to gaming: would it be fun to give PCs defective equipment? It may open up another avenue of conflict and give people a target to pursue on the home front. It may also be frustrating for players when their character fails through matters entirely out of their control.

    As I recall, Empire of the Petal Throne had a version of this - when you discovered "eyes" (relics of ancient technology found in various places) then not only was the remaining number of uses random, but there was a small chance that the thing was defective. As teenagers we always ignored that, feeling that it was too punitive to give a player something and then immediately take it away again!
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    I liked the level of research and technical detail. I really appreciate some realistic points like this in historical fiction and don't mind, since it is historical fiction, that things are arranged to show a number of major events/ideas in a more streamlined and coherent fashion.

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    I did find myself wanting a diagram of the sub. Was there one in the print volume?

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    @Ray_Otus said:
    I did find myself wanting a diagram of the sub. Was there one in the print volume?

    No, but I can link to some! The Mako was a Gato class sub, a potent, fast, and rather comfortable sub, as subs go.
    Cutaway View
    This picture shows the profiles of several individual boats, showing the variety of individual modifications carried out - the number, type, and position of guns, the complete remodeling of the conning tower and periscope shears, and other changes. The USS Tang seems to be closest to the Mako, as it was stated to have two 5 inch deck guns - in front of and behind the conning tower - and multi-barreled automatic weapons on fore and aft platforms on the conning tower.

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    The links above are broken (they start http://https://...). Should be fixed below.

    @clash_bowley said:
    No, but I can link to some! The Mako was a Gato class sub, a potent, fast, and rather comfortable sub, as subs go.
    Cutaway View
    This picture shows

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    @NeilNjae said:

    The links above are broken (they start http://https://...). Should be fixed below.

    Thank you Neil! I didn't test them, like an idiot!

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