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Roxxy
2013-11-19, 02:27 AM
I thought up an interesting situation. I've got a Pathfinder setting (1950s/1960s tech level) where the east and most of the center of a continent was turned into a wasteland during the magical equivalent of a nuclear war. The west survived, by virtue of having been a neutral party in this conflict. Now, however, refugees are streaming westward and resource imports from the east are cut off. To remedy this, companies are sending people into the eastern wastelands to secure valuable resources that are in short supply in the west (like coal and oil), harvest them, and send them west by rail. However, the magic that wreaked this havoc has caused many, many corpses to spontaneously turn into undead, massively increased the occurrence of lycanthropy, and made aberrations run wild, among a large number of other nasty effects. To add to these dangers, there are bandits everywhere. To deal with this, the trains, train stations (which are also being used as depots/warehouses for resources waiting to be shipped), and resource gathering areas have hired guards, and the government has given these guards permission to purchase weapons not normally civilian legal, such as .50 caliber machine guns and hand grenades.

Now, onto my question: how would you go about defending this (https://www.google.com/search?q=train+station&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=7X1&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=fgyLUtr5D-PA2gWS3oDQDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=664#channel=fflb&q=antwerp+train+station&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&safe=off&tbm=isch&imgdii=_) train station from raiders, undead hordes, dragons, and what have you while trains actively come and go? Ideally, how many guards would you want? What mixture of semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and sniper rifles would you want them to carry? How many stationary machine guns, and what calibers? What about physical defenses, like sandbags, barbed wire, landmines, and so on? Medical resources for the wounded? Ways to ensure an incoming resource train isn't filled with raiders who want to slip by the defenses?

Kelb_Panthera
2013-11-19, 02:52 AM
For detailed defense you need detailed floor plans.

From a glance at the Google images though, it's gonna be a pain in the butt. Lots of wide open spaces, lots of approaches to practically everywhere in the building, it's just not pretty.

Roxxy
2013-11-19, 03:03 AM
For detailed defense you need detailed floor plans.I'll see what I can find.


From a glance at the Google images though, it's gonna be a pain in the butt. Lots of wide open spaces, lots of approaches to practically everywhere in the building, it's just not pretty.Yea, that's why I'm asking what other people can think up. From an economic point of view, it's an essential building to hold, but it does not look defensible at all to me.

For context, it's in a large city that is pretty much empty of people. There was some light bombing of military installations, but the depopulation was done by gas and city wide evacuation. Damage to the station is very slight, and the same goes for surrounding buildings.

This is what Wikipedia tells me about station layout:


The station has four levels and 14 tracks arranged as follows:

Level +1: The original station, 6 terminating tracks, arranged as two groups of three and separated by a central opening allowing views of the lower levels
Level 0: Houses ticketing facilities and commercial space
Level −1: 7 m below street level, 4 terminating tracks, arranged in two pairs, also featuring the world-famous twin level escalators that start off at a gradient, then become level, then resume a gradient again.
Level −2: 18 m below street level, 4 through tracks, leading to the two tracks of the tunnel under the city (used by high-speed trains and fast domestic InterCity services).

Still looking for floor plans.

Berenger
2013-11-19, 03:33 AM
A few random thoughts:

1. More info needed: how big are "standard" bands of mercenaries / roving undead? What type of undead? Mindless zombie hordes and mind-dominating vampires warrant very different defenses. How powerful are dragons? Can they be harmed by machine guns or do you need extremely powerful / magic cannons to kill them?

2. The big windows have to go. Close them with masonry and leave lockable crenels.

3. Spotters with or without sniper rifles in those towers, technical surveillance systems if available.

4. A radio station to call in reinforcements via train or airship from other fortified stations.

5. Fuel tanks inside the building that can flood and light up a moat outside the building to fry hordes and swarms of weak, mindless critters.

6. Two outposts a mile down and up the tracks: a few "disposable" guys equipped with dogs and detectors to sniff out infiltration attempts via train. There should be a blocker between outposts and station to thwart breakthough attempts.

7. Defenses like sandbags and landmines depend on the armament and ingenuity of my enemies. Against zombies and werewolves, sandbags are useless since they don't shoot back. Against Tucker's Kobolds, landmines may equal "Yay, yay, yay, free explosives!".

8. The ground floor in and around the building is paved with concrete to dissuade burrowing attackers.

9. Anti-aircraft-guns and armored floodlights on the roof. Don't stint on floodlights. Many critters hate bright light and you can't shoot what you can't see.

10. Infantry with rifles, machine guns and the like. Quantity of troops and quality of equipment depending on budget and threat level.

11. Elite teams trained to use special weaponry like silvered swords, stake-throwers, flame-throwers or whatever is needed to bypass (super-)natural immunities.

12. Check out if some enemies are attracted to / appalled by certain radio waves, sounds, light spectra, odors and the like and avoid them / use them to your advantage.

Roxxy
2013-11-19, 03:47 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. Bandit groups vary in size, but any group less than at least a few dozen is unlikely to attempt to take on a defended rail station, unless they have a really good plan. The most likely undead to attack are zombies and ghouls, with the ghouls being more feared because they know how to use stealth. There have been vampires sighted every once in a while, and the risk is not to be discounted, but it is not a high probability encounter. Dragons are pretty damn tough, but a .50 BMG can smash their scales if the round hits at the proper angle. It'll take quite a bit of that to kill it, though. The budget is negotiable, as you are basically telling the company execs what you think you need to do the job properly.

caden_varn
2013-11-19, 03:49 AM
At a top line level, lots of blocking of doorways and windows at lower levels, (brick them up, not just a bit of wooden boarding), demolish anything nearby to give good clear arcs of fire, heavy defences around the tracks entering the station and snipers stationed up high.

Depends what the raiders want though. Why attack a fortified depot when they can just attack the train or tracks if they are after either getting rid of you are getting at the hoarded resources. There is no point holding the railway station once the lines are blocked or severed, and the trains and especially the track are very vulnerable and easy to find - they fairlyu much always go the same route :smallsmile:

Unintelligent enemies would still be an issue of course, so anti-undead defences in particular would be needed

C'nor
2013-11-19, 04:03 AM
First thing to do? Cover the glass with non-reactive sheet metal, or at the very least, toughen it somehow. You mentioned Aberrations being more common, which implies that flight might be a thing - and if you keep any 3.5 material, potentially Starspawn from the Aberration Blood line of feats, to give any Aberration wings.

Similarly, replace the glass in the walls with metal, that is then electrified and smoothed, with a double row of spikes angled outward at the top edge, and the same but in the reverse orientation at the bottom.

I'm writing up a potential attack plan, to highlight the sorts of things you might need to defend against, but I'll need some more information - how common are Carrion Moths, Faceless Stalkers, and Ecstasy Feeders, for instance?

Kelb_Panthera
2013-11-19, 04:10 AM
First thing's first, the lower most access needs to be sealed off. 50 yards into each of the 4 lowest tunnels collapse at least 30 feet of tunnel, more if you're paranoid. Fortify the tunnel entrances to the tunnels with sandbag barricades and station 2 guards at each one if you have the manpower. The same on the floor above if none of those lines leave the city (as I suspect is the case.)

The upper floors are just too much of an unknown without better intelligence, but I strongly suggest closing off all non-essential areas as completely as possible. Brick 'em up, collapse 'em whatever, just make sure they're not points of access anymore. The less you have to defend the easier it gets.

C'nor
2013-11-19, 04:14 AM
Your plan involves a bit too much potential structural damage to be really safe, it sounds like... Also, what if you're using those tunnels?

Roxxy
2013-11-19, 04:25 AM
Depends what the raiders want though. Why attack a fortified depot when they can just attack the train or tracks if they are after either getting rid of you are getting at the hoarded resources. There is no point holding the railway station once the lines are blocked or severed, and the trains and especially the track are very vulnerable and easy to find - they fairlyu much always go the same route :smallsmileSimple: they don't want the industrial resources and crude oil on the trains, they want the giant piles of rations, refined fuel, vehicles, tools, medical supplies, weapons, ammunition, explosives, and such we carry in the station, and the chance to kidnap specialists like medical personnel. Also, if the lines are severed it is more likely a repair crew and a lot of reinforcements will show up than the line will be abandoned. Easier to raid the station, take what you can carry, and get out before the response arrives.

I need to read up on abberations to decide what is common.

Calen
2013-11-19, 05:43 AM
At the very least you will need 200-250 soldiers. More would be nice but I can imagine that a company exec would try to keep it as cheap as possible.
Seismic and thermal sensors are a must.
Lots of floodlights and fire to deal with the undead.
A half dozen or so APC/IFV's kitted out with heavy weaponry and carrying your "Special Forces" to act as a reserve squad.
A few well emplaced flak/AA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer_Gepard) cannons or additional vehicles would be needed for dragons and to act as supporting fire.

CombatOwl
2013-11-19, 06:43 AM
I thought up an interesting situation. I've got a Pathfinder setting (1950s/1960s tech level) where the east and most of the center of a continent was turned into a wasteland during the magical equivalent of a nuclear war. The west survived, by virtue of having been a neutral party in this conflict. Now, however, refugees are streaming westward and resource imports from the east are cut off. To remedy this, companies are sending people into the eastern wastelands to secure valuable resources that are in short supply in the west (like coal and oil), harvest them, and send them west by rail. However, the magic that wreaked this havoc has caused many, many corpses to spontaneously turn into undead, massively increased the occurrence of lycanthropy, and made aberrations run wild, among a large number of other nasty effects. To add to these dangers, there are bandits everywhere. To deal with this, the trains, train stations (which are also being used as depots/warehouses for resources waiting to be shipped), and resource gathering areas have hired guards, and the government has given these guards permission to purchase weapons not normally civilian legal, such as .50 caliber machine guns and hand grenades.

Now, onto my question: how would you go about defending this (https://www.google.com/search?q=train+station&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=7X1&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=fgyLUtr5D-PA2gWS3oDQDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=664#channel=fflb&q=antwerp+train+station&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&safe=off&tbm=isch&imgdii=_) train station from raiders, undead hordes, dragons, and what have you while trains actively come and go? Ideally, how many guards would you want? What mixture of semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and sniper rifles would you want them to carry? How many stationary machine guns, and what calibers? What about physical defenses, like sandbags, barbed wire, landmines, and so on? Medical resources for the wounded? Ways to ensure an incoming resource train isn't filled with raiders who want to slip by the defenses?

A modified Prismatic Sphere. It lasts for 5 hours per casting, 5 times per day (if the station is under siege, enough for a continuous sphere) and covers the entire train yard. It should be cast from a unique wonderful item that requires some McGuffin to operate. Trains must arrive and depart within 1 hour windows, four windows per day. Supply convoys must arrive during one of those windows as well, or wait outside.

Kelb_Panthera
2013-11-19, 07:01 AM
Your plan involves a bit too much potential structural damage to be really safe, it sounds like... Also, what if you're using those tunnels?

I assume you mean the tunnel collapses? Why do you think I suggested putting them that far out. As for the usefulness of them, they don't leave the city. The risk outweighs the reward by a significant margin. Trucks can handle collecting resources from within the city, assuming there's even any worth collecting that the raiders and other scavengers haven't already picked clean.

Radar
2013-11-19, 07:03 AM
Aside from flattening everything in firerange and then some, you will get a lot of milage from mining every route, which you don't use. This might include tunnels, ceiling and unused rooms inside the building (in those cases use charges, which will not damage the structure).

@Berenger
It's simple: keep all the minefields in fireing range and make them difficult to disarm or dig up safely. There are many nasty surprises, you can set up. For example a tripwire, which will set off an explosion if pulled or cut... combined with a hidden preassure plate just beside it. Mines connected in pairs or threes, severing the connecting wire trips the trigger. Vary the triggers, so they have to keep guessing and blowing themselves up. In addition, have a few remotely controled explosives in strategic positions just in case.

There are also passive traps to use in open space: digging up a dry moat with spikes seems like a good idea anyway.

Incorporeal, flying and burrowing enemies will be the most threatening and with mundane defences, you might have trouble, so it's important to ask: how available is magic in your setting? It might change the whole operation significantly.

C'nor
2013-11-19, 07:16 AM
@Kelb:

That's the problem, though, is they don't leave the city. So you're collapsing things with buildings on top of them, and structurally weakening other parts that likewise need to support buildings. I can easily see it chaining out and causing a huge amount of damage.

JustSomeGuy
2013-11-19, 07:29 AM
Your link just takes me to agoogle image search for 'train station', so i can't help with the exact one you've chosen. Also, i don't know much about your creatures or game system (i've only played 2nd ed.), but from a general perspective:

See without being seen, kill without being killed
What you ideally want is a large 'dead zone' around the outside perimeter where you can easily spot anything advancing. Spotlights, night sights, binoculars, trip flares, regular flares, anything to help get eyes on the targets (some kind of radio system or internal speaker/tannoy to help convey information to the defence teams would help coordinate fire teams and defence arcs too; runners in a pinch), plus fences, barbed wire, mines, caltrops etc. to slow their advance - depending on enemy types, the ground itself can be used... soft, sloppy mud delays walking/running, and ditches etc. can slow big vehicles, but allows for smaller enemies to hide from view, so it depends. Gradients can work normally, but since you are a train they would hinder you more i imagine.
Similarly, creating visual defences for your defenders would be of benefit: Cam nets, scrim screens, dark backing or even dazzle camofluage could work, whatever helps conceal your guys or detract from them being spotted.

No plan survives first contact
Don't have too elaborate defense plans, because things can and do go wrong in many ways. Better to have several well drilled but basic plans according to the attack type/expected situations, with some robust back up tactics to apply depending on what events unfold, again well rehearsed and known to all defence teams - for example, mass rush, flying attackers, stealth infiltration etc. plus options to send 1/4 of your team to aid a defence arc or collect specialist weapons or whatever is likely to be required. Communications are key for this, but that would also mean to me a backup plan for if communications failed is needed - i'm sure you get the idea.

Keep one foot on the ground
This basically means know what is going on around you; ideally, you want some kind of medium-long range system to know what is in your vicinity, whether this be covert scout posts, patrol teams, operatives who've infiltrated local raiders/communities or a setup with the raiders/communities themselves - depending what your stores and losses are like, it might be worthwhile to 'buy off' some local tribes/whatever with a regular income who then get a bit of a rapport so when hey collect their rations, yo uget a bit of an intelligence update on their region. Also works as a first line of defence.

Trains might possibly suck
Big targets, set routes, easy to derail, long(?) supply lines to protect... raiders i assume could quite easily access the line somewhere, and derailing the train would be pretty easy i assume. Then they just swoop in, snatch whatever isn't spoiled and flee. Repeat wheverever they like. Do you have mobile protection units? Off road vehicles/flyers etc that can escort/scout for the trains with easy communication to halt the train if it looks dicey up ahead and protect from roving attacks? There was a reason that bridges, trains and depots were high priority 'skirmish' targets for special forces in WW2 and later - they are choke points, where enemy forces had to traverse in small locations and often held high value targets.

Kelb_Panthera
2013-11-19, 07:37 AM
@Kelb:

That's the problem, though, is they don't leave the city. So you're collapsing things with buildings on top of them, and structurally weakening other parts that likewise need to support buildings. I can easily see it chaining out and causing a huge amount of damage.

As long as they don't collapse onto the station that's just collateral and completely acceptable. It's not a city with high population density and this is a mercenary outfit if I understand correctly. You can always implode the surrounding, likely unoccupied buildings if you're really concerned over it. Besides level-ish terrain surrounding the defense position is a good thing, tactically.

Starshade
2013-11-19, 09:20 AM
Since this is D&D based sort of (don't know the pathfinder versions), do the mercs got some magical resources? An warforged titan armed for close combat and a automatic cannon would have been nice against bigger monsters. It could even count as a merc if the setting approved artificial beings as having rights. :smallsmile:
Hm, if not, some anti air machinegun posts outside, perhaps 2-3 jeeps with some powerful machineguns too, for speedy support outside. Would Oerlikon 20mm cannons be approved in the setting? Would have been nice for anti dragon/monster hunting.

C'nor
2013-11-19, 09:49 AM
Kelb, what you're leaving out there is that it's not 'levelish ground'. Either the buildings stay up, or the weight on the now-weakened tunnels starts a chain reaction that may or may not stop before the train station, and will almost certainly cause significant piles of rubble and large pits.

And why does the company need this place? To move things out of. So you need to be able to get that stuff into the station in the first place, which means that having most of the streets in the immediate area blocked off by stuff that's a pain in the ass to move is bad.

It's doubly an issue if you intend to move into the area again, perhaps by having the refugees resettle - and I imagine that a lot of families will be upset by the bodies in those buildings going unburied, even without considering the potential resources that are being destroyed that way.

Kelb_Panthera
2013-11-19, 10:20 AM
Kelb, what you're leaving out there is that it's not 'levelish ground'. Either the buildings stay up, or the weight on the now-weakened tunnels starts a chain reaction that may or may not stop before the train station, and will almost certainly cause significant piles of rubble and large pits.

And why does the company need this place? To move things out of. So you need to be able to get that stuff into the station in the first place, which means that having most of the streets in the immediate area blocked off by stuff that's a pain in the ass to move is bad.

It's doubly an issue if you intend to move into the area again, perhaps by having the refugees resettle - and I imagine that a lot of families will be upset by the bodies in those buildings going unburied, even without considering the potential resources that are being destroyed that way.

It'd take a bit more info to say one way or the other just how badly the area would be destabalized. A 30 foot collapse shouldn't be too much of a problem though. The engineers that built the place certainly had to do some calculations about the effect their tunneling would have on the streets above and should have left some room for error, enough that a small collapse like what I'm talking about shouldn't cause too much collateral. Again, though, we don't really have nearly enough info to be certain. I'd risk it.

The comment about level-ish ground was more about intentional demolition than accidental collapse.

Beleriphon
2013-11-19, 10:49 AM
Trains might possibly suck
Big targets, set routes, easy to derail, long(?) supply lines to protect... raiders i assume could quite easily access the line somewhere, and derailing the train would be pretty easy i assume. Then they just swoop in, snatch whatever isn't spoiled and flee. Repeat wheverever they like. Do you have mobile protection units? Off road vehicles/flyers etc that can escort/scout for the trains with easy communication to halt the train if it looks dicey up ahead and protect from roving attacks? There was a reason that bridges, trains and depots were high priority 'skirmish' targets for special forces in WW2 and later - they are choke points, where enemy forces had to traverse in small locations and often held high value targets.

Trains with every dozen cars being a gun carrier rather than a full cargo car would work. A few heavy machine guns and an AA gun would be more than enough for most targets. You'd need to attack a train with a tank before those armaments stop being effective.

JustSomeGuy
2013-11-19, 11:40 AM
Trains with every dozen cars being a gun carrier rather than a full cargo car would work. A few heavy machine guns and an AA gun would be more than enough for most targets. You'd need to attack a train with a tank before those armaments stop being effective.

Except that presumably a pile of rubble could easily derail and tip the train over (i'm guessing, aren't cars a danger for this, never mind trucks or magic triangly-ramp blocks), after which half of your armaments are pointing into the dirt and the other half are pointed into the sky, plus all those who man & fire them being pretty dazed, confused, injured or dead. An explosive under the track just before the train approaches would destroy the track and achieve the same, except it'd be way less noticable, and any air assets could do the same with bombing.

Radar
2013-11-19, 11:42 AM
Trains with every dozen cars being a gun carrier rather than a full cargo car would work. A few heavy machine guns and an AA gun would be more than enough for most targets. You'd need to attack a train with a tank before those armaments stop being effective.
And a well prepared train can defend agains tanks as well - armoured trains were certainly a thing in our history and could deal with a large variety of assults.

Except that presumably a pile of rubble could easily derail and tip the train over (i'm guessing, aren't cars a danger for this, never mind trucks or magic triangly-ramp blocks), after which half of your armaments are pointing into the dirt and the other half are pointed into the sky, plus all those who man & fire them being pretty dazed, confused, injured or dead. An explosive under the track just before the train approaches would destroy the track and achieve the same, except it'd be way less noticable, and any air assets could do the same with bombing.
This is only an issue with high speed trains or very low visibility. Antitank mine hidden under the tracks would be an issue, but I guess it's something you can plan against - for instance by pushing a heavy and otherwise expendable rail cart in the front.

Talderas
2013-11-19, 01:15 PM
To deal with this, the trains, train stations (which are also being used as depots/warehouses for resources waiting to be shipped), and resource gathering areas have hired guards, and the government has given these guards permission to purchase weapons not normally civilian legal, such as .50 caliber machine guns and hand grenades.

Now, onto my question: how would you go about defending this (https://www.google.com/search?q=train+station&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=7X1&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=fgyLUtr5D-PA2gWS3oDQDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=664#channel=fflb&q=antwerp+train+station&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&safe=off&tbm=isch&imgdii=_) train station from raiders, undead hordes, dragons, and what have you while trains actively come and go? Ideally, how many guards would you want? What mixture of semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and sniper rifles would you want them to carry? How many stationary machine guns, and what calibers? What about physical defenses, like sandbags, barbed wire, landmines, and so on? Medical resources for the wounded? Ways to ensure an incoming resource train isn't filled with raiders who want to slip by the defenses?

So here's the major thing. There's some severe logistical stuff you need to handle. The actual station houses 14 tracks but it's a terminus station rather than a pass through. That means the the trains and their carriages enter from one end and exit from the same end. That means that every train coming in needs to have track to reverse its orientation or is going to have an engine at each end of the train which is not necessarily a bad idea given the hostility of the region.

Some of those 14 tracks are below ground and probably meant for a subway system so they're useless and need to be sealed off.

Additionally, this station will will maybe be able to support 12 total cars in a single train if the goal is to house within the building. If you're using the aforementioned 2 engine strategy then you're limited to 10 railcars for the train. In order to protect the train the setup would probably be two gun carriages near the front and read of the train and two to three passenger carriages to carry men and command for protection depending on the value of the cargo or the anticipated threat level leaving you with 5 to 6 cargo cars.

If you wanted to defend just the building then you're talking maybe 75-100 men to do so in order to provide for 24/7 watches in a hostile region. However, it is probably you're going to need a much larger area to operate this station as a hub for loading goods which may mean clearing out the surround area and erecting a wall, landmine, and other defenses to keep out ground raiders. Preferably erect a wall because that makes it easier to deal with hijackers trying to get in.

To deal with hijackers you setup a quarantine zone. Think of it like the locks in a canal. The train enters, the area is closed up and an inspection is performed. If hijackers or other undesirables are found they are executed or starved out but the inner gate isn't opened until that issue is resolved.