Chapter 303 Preparation for the Air Raid
After going through a week of assembling and testing, Roland and Anna together completed the development of an impact detonator.
Compared to the fuse of the artillery shells, it does not need to withstand high temperature and pressure, and there was also no high-G overload when it left the chamber, so the structure was very simple. However, due to the necessary precise constitution of the firing pin and the spring, the two had to test many variations before they finally succeeded.
The main problem was that no one knew how much elasticity the spring needed, to make sure that it wouldn’t go off it it accidental fell. While they also needed to guarantee that it would always trigger when it was launched normally.
He and Anna only changed the thickness and hardness of the spring a little before testing it once again.
Fortunately, Anna and Lucia had done a lot of the required work in advance. As a result, Roland had more and more high-quality materials available at hand. Ultimately, after a lot of testing they’d chosen to use steel alloy No. 1365, which had a relatively high hardness, but a toughness that was on the lower side. Even if the bomb fell from one meter, it wouldn’t be compressed to the end.
After the selection of an appropriate spring, the rest was easy. Just like the saying: where water flows, a canal would form. Even though Roland had never seen the look of a real detonator before, he could still rely on his work’s experience to come up with a design by himself.
Compared to modern ones it was certainly lacking, but for the current crude big black bombs, this would be enough.
The finished version of the impact detonator was in the form of a cylinder, twelve centimeters long, about five centimeters in diameter, with a spiral pattern on the underside which could be screwed into the opening at the top of the bomb.
The interior looked like a downwards convex groove, while the firing pin shared a similar appearance, so that it could also fit into the groove. In its normal state, the spring would lock the upper part within the indentation, while the striker would land right inside the indentation, only one finger apart from the primer. For the purpose of taking precautions, Roland had also made a hole in the head of the firing pin, so that a bolt could be fixed on top of the ammunition case. Thus, before the bombing, they first had to pull out the bolt, only then could the strike move up and down.
The simulation test was held on a sunny afternoon.
Because this bomb which filled with a padding of gravels instead of black gunpowder, had already reached five times Nightingales weight, Roland decided not to board the hot air balloon, and instead watched the process with an observation mirror from three hundred meters away from the impact location.
Apart from himself, there was also the Commander of the Fist Army Iron Axe and the Chief Knight Carter Lannis, who were here to watch this first test.
“Are you planning to use a hot air balloon to throw the giant explosive packages into the heart of the imperial palace?” After listening to Roland’s battle plan, Carter struggled to believe his ears. To attack from an altitude of two kilometers above the ground while simultaneously completely disregarding the city walls and the forces of the garrison, ultimately overturned his former concept of what defined combat – and of course, living in Border Town during this last year, his view had already gone through changes many times before.
“As long as the controlling system is fully functioning it really isn’t impossible to achieve,” Roland nodded. “Right now, Timothy is pressing people into service once more, to build up his new militia force. If we cannot stop him, the Western Territory will inevitably suffer another attack from his drugged forces. And even if we force him back again, it won’t give us even one bit of benefit.”
The secret letter that Theo had sent had indicated that Timothy was currently still using the same old routine of trying to consume his strength. However, Roland didn’t know if the team dispatched by Barov could overtake their counterparts and rope in the people and make them come to Border Town.
“Supposing that you can really release heaven’s fury thunder above Timothy’s head, he absolutely will be frightened, not knowing what to do!” Iron Axe said excitedly, “This is absolutely a heaven’s punishment which no one can resist!”
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Roland said with a smile.
Although Theo had mentioned in the letter that Timothy had most likely figured out the method for making black gunpowder and opened a workshop in the inner city to try and mass produce the dangerous product, after thinking it over repeatedly, Roland still decided that the roof of the imperial palace should be the target of the bombing.
The reason was simple, the palace was the only place which was eye-catching enough.
When looking from a height of two thousand meters, even the most magnificent city of Graycastle was only the size of half a palm. Therefore, they also had to find a good target point to throw off the bomb in advance. And the palace was located at the midpoint of the inner-city district, and was surrounded by a red tile wall. Furthermore, pure white stones covered the roof of the palace, would be particularly eye-catching while they were aiming, which meant it would almost be impossible for them to miss their target.
But the workshop was different.
Roland didn’t possess a layout plan of King’s City, and the ground was also unmanned, and if he only relied on spoken words it would be quite difficult to describe the position of the selected target. Plus, the workshop’s area wasn’t large. If the bomb were to fall on top of a civilian’s house, the gains of their plan wouldn’t make up for the losses they would face.
Suddenly, a white shadow fell straight to the ground, causing a smoke pillar to rise from the test field, followed by the muffling sound of something smashing into the ground a moment later.
“It seems as if the bomb has hit the ground,” Roland put away the mirror, “Let’s go and take a look at the result.”
After a week of training, Lightning had significantly improved her bombing technique. This time, the bomb had hit the ground five meters away from the center of the target. It had drilled its whole body into the earth and the outer shell had been substantially deformed due to the force of the impact.
After Cloud Gazer had landed, Anna used her black flame to cut open the bomb, so that everyone could see that the soil near the detonator has been charred black – this proved that the primer’s temperature was high enough to ignite the gas sprinkled on top of the gravel, which was what they had used in place of black gunpowder, and this showed that the detonator itself was working fine. If they instead filled the interior of the bomb with nitrated starch, it could easily create a four to six meters deep hole, and kill all of the people who hadn’t taken shelter that were within the vicinity of 50 meters.
Now, after having fully trained the air drop, the next step was to organize their combat plan.
Roland let his gaze wander over everyone surrounding him, then opened his mouth and slowly said, “We will execute the surprise raid on King’s City next Monday. First, Iron Axe will lead a group of fifty firearms and escort the witches to the outskirts of Silver City. There is a mountain ridge in the area which can shelter you from detection, and it should be perfect if you want to set up camp or send off a balloon.”
“I hear and obey, Your Majesty!” Iron Axe agreed.
“Why can’t we just fly directly from Border Town?” Wendy asked.
“No, that would be too far,” Roland shook his head, from the Western Territory to King’s City it took at least a week. When traveling with Cloud Gazer or flying directly there, it would still take them around three days, together with the return trip it would be six days. Furthermore, after the installing the dropping mechanism, the basket would only have enough space to carry two people, which meant that Nightingale would be unable to follow them. With the exception of Anna, none of the other witches had any fighting ability, so making them spend six nights in the wild it would be much too high a risk, which was something that would be impossible for him to feel at ease about. “By starting from Silver City, you will be able to complete the bombing in just one day and return even before the sun goes down.”
“Secondly, the witches assigned to the mission are Anna, Wendy, Lightning, Maggie, Nightingale and Sylvie. The latter two are responsible for monitoring the surroundings of the camp, while the attack will be carried out by the first four people according to the training method, especially Lightning,” he looked towards the little girl, “Whether we succeed or not all depends on you.”
“You can leave it to me.” The latter patted her chest.
“In that case, the last thing I wanted to mention was that you should all pay attention to your safety,” Roland said while stressing each word, “I will be waiting for your return here in Border Town.”
Four days later, the first bomb ’Easterly Wind No.1’ was loaded on top of a cart, and under the escort of the First Army, it boarded a cargo ship to Silver City.