A Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Siege of Winterfell Part 1

Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire

Introduction

“Tell me, turncloak, what battles has the Bastard of Bolton ever won that I should fear him?” (TWOW, Theon I)

One of the most anticipated plotlines from The Winds of Winter is the Siege of Winterfell. The Siege, originally intended to be included in A Dance with Dragons, was cut to The Winds of Winter. But even though The Winds of Winter hasn’t been released yet, I believe there are significant clues how the Siege of Winterfell will unfold and what the outcome will be.

But to say that the battle will have significant consequences would be understating it. For Stannis Baratheon, it’s a zero-sum game. If he wins, he rejuvenates his claim to the Iron Throne. But more than simply gaining momentum, a victory by Stannis would redirect the North to confront the threat of the Others. If Roose Bolton wins, he solidifies his Wardenship of…

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9 thoughts on “A Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Siege of Winterfell Part 1

    • “It’s remarkable at times how detailed and rich the story line of many works of fiction are.”

      Indeed. But all fiction is based on reality, so it may not be very surprising.

      “Off topic, but the F-35 has a new round of problems. Apparently more engine problems:”

      *That* is definetly not surprising.

  1. I just saw a short report last night on the M1 Abrams. Apparently it too needs something like the Pentagon Wars.

    Protection weak points:
    – The sheer size of the massive turret makes the vehicle very vulnerable to top attack (a huge problem in the urban environments of places like Iraq). Contrast with the smaller circular turrets on Russian tanks. I suppose a case could be made that large turrets have advantages – but I suspect they are vulnerable too.

    – Thermal signature (the jet uses perhaps much as 8x as fuel as a diesel at times, so it’s a huge problem). Infantry cannot walk nearby the tank and in dry shrubs, it can set the nearby trees on fire (that’s how big the IR signature is)

    – Bottom of hull is not V-Shaped so more vulnerable to mines

    – NO escape hatch on bottom (apparently the first loss in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was when a tank fell into a river – no hatch)

    – Higher risk of leaking (compared to other tanks) of fluids – hydraulics in particular; this is also a fire hazard if the tank is hit in a certain place (witness number of Israeli casualties in 1973 to fires from hydraulic liquids – the M1 seems more vulnerable to catching fire overall

    – Fuel (JP8) is also more flammable than diesel

    – The M1A2 has Depleted Uranium armor. This is mostly to stop kinetic energy penetrators. The problem is that DU has the tendency to burn (it is pyrophoric). That means if the DU ever catches fire, it becomes a hazard to the crew, anyone near the tank, and any rescue teams. The DU ammo might also have this flaw. Tungsten armor does not have this issue (and indeed tungsten is quite resilient to high temperatures).

    Maintenance and other issues:

    – The tank is a lot more maintenance intensive (perhaps as much as 8h/day average) than other tanks

    – Track life is not as good as other tanks and the ground pressure is somewhat higher (this is a problem because the tank often cannot leave roads and is thus vulnerable to mines/IEDs)

    – The bigger issue is that this leave a massive logistics trail of thin skinned vehicles – and being down for maintenance means that the tank is more vulnerable

    Manufacturing defects:

    – Apparently the blowout panels were never rated for 120mm ammo and the ammo storage is not that good

    – The steel is not always of high quality that was used in the tank itself (part of the reason they were so rushed to get DU armor in)

    – Bore evacuator may not be good enough to vent the hot gas after firing the gun

    – Halon gas extinguishers do not always work

    I’m not surprised, but it’s shocking how many issues there are.

    • “– The sheer size of the massive turret makes the vehicle very vulnerable to top attack (a huge problem in the urban environments of places like Iraq). Contrast with the smaller circular turrets on Russian tanks. I suppose a case could be made that large turrets have advantages – but I suspect they are vulnerable too.”

      Its turret is large partly due to munitions storage in aft compartment and partly because of an additional crew member. Compare turret size in tanks with human loader (Abrams, Challenger II) to those in tanks with autoloader (Leclerc, Degman). In both cases there is a separate ammunition section, but tanks with human loader have much larger turrets. Of course, autoloader has disadvantages (rate of fire, mechanical complexity, loss of one crew member), so it is a tradeoff.

      “– Thermal signature (the jet uses perhaps much as 8x as fuel as a diesel at times, so it’s a huge problem). Infantry cannot walk nearby the tank and in dry shrubs, it can set the nearby trees on fire (that’s how big the IR signature is)”

      IIRC, there are plans to convert M1s to diesel engines.

      “– The M1A2 has Depleted Uranium armor. This is mostly to stop kinetic energy penetrators. The problem is that DU has the tendency to burn (it is pyrophoric). That means if the DU ever catches fire, it becomes a hazard to the crew, anyone near the tank, and any rescue teams. The DU ammo might also have this flaw. Tungsten armor does not have this issue (and indeed tungsten is quite resilient to high temperatures).”

      DU is also a radiation/poison hazard. DU that catches fire results in radioactive ceramic particles, small enough to be inhaled, and many are even small enough to reach bloodflow through lungs.

      “I’m not surprised, but it’s shocking how many issues there are.”

      Take a look at Blacktail’s series on tanks over at Deviant Art (and also on Youtube).

    • There is also a shot trap under certain points of the front armor.

      “Its turret is large partly due to munitions storage in aft compartment and partly because of an additional crew member. Compare turret size in tanks with human loader (Abrams, Challenger II) to those in tanks with autoloader (Leclerc, Degman). In both cases there is a separate ammunition section, but tanks with human loader have much larger turrets. Of course, autoloader has disadvantages (rate of fire, mechanical complexity, loss of one crew member), so it is a tradeoff.”

      Actually what are you thoughts about turret size?

      Smaller turret:
      – Less likely to be hit
      – Ammo would have to be in hull
      – Tank would likely be lighter

      Large turret
      – Less mechanical failure
      – Fourth crewmen

      I have heard that newer autoloaders are better designed. Among the 4 crew tanks, I’d say the Israeli Merkava Mk. 4 is probably the best designed turret and it has an engine in front layout that probably minimizes mine casualties.

      • “Actually what are you thoughts about turret size?”

        A tank with small turret and a human loader would be ideal, but poviding that you can have a safe and reasonably fast and reliable autoloader with well protected ammunition, I’d rather have an autoloader and smaller turret than a human loader and a large turret.

        And small turret does not preclude ammo storage in turret – Degman has 22 rounds in the turret, Leclerc has 22, but Leclerc can fire 12 shots per minute compared to Degman’s 9. Russian tanks OTOH typically have unprotected ammunition in autoloader, which has proven itself to be quite suicidal.

        “Among the 4 crew tanks, I’d say the Israeli Merkava Mk. 4 is probably the best designed turret and it has an engine in front layout that probably minimizes mine casualties.”

        I’m not so sure about turret design, it seems that some shots might glance off the turret into top of the hull.

      • The problem with a small turret and human loader I think will be that it will be more cramped in the turret, which might hamper efficiency and potentially even morale. There are benefits though to having 4 people.

        I would agree that autoloader may be the best compromise, so long as the as the ammo is well sealed.

        There have also been plans for newer tanks that have completely unmanned turrets, something I’m not as sure is a good idea. The new Russian Armata is rumored to have an unmanned turret.

        “I’m not so sure about turret design, it seems that some shots might glance off the turret into top of the hull.”

        It is a shot trap, although if it hits the top of the frontal armor, it probably isn’t a big deal – and that’s the most likely area where it will hit. The top of the rear or side though could be an issue. What I like about the design is that the turret armor kind of slopes towards the top, which makes it somewhat less vulnerable to top attack (which is an issue when facing enemy aircraft and potentially ATGMs).

  2. I can’t help but think that the snow will aid Stannis in getting over the intact walls of Winterfeld. That said, the Boltons are wonderfully despicable. I am hard pressed to believe that Ramsay and his young ward Reek will be written out of the book (but I hope so). Add to that the two Targaryen Dragons, Griff in the south and Danaerys still wasting time. The real balance of power lies in the south with Dorne and the Tyrells given waning Lannister influence. More importantly, George RR Martin is more emperiled than any of his characters, by his impending coronary event, so we may never know.

    • Ramsay is a character you simply come to love to hate. Roose Bolton… I never liked him, but I do have some respect for him – what he did was not easy to pull off. But treason is still treason, even if against a king who was genuinely too dumb to live.

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