In order to start producing munitions, one needs to establish several feeder industries. Some of these may already be present, but cannot deliver goods reliably unless they have a contract, and perhaps even downpayment for goods, or are run by the munitions factory itself.
Munitions are basically explosives, propellants and casings. Some advanced munitions require special preperations, but they cannot be made in primitive industrial settings. Casings and projectiles can be made in a dedicated machine shop, but are most easily made by drop forging some low melting point metal (lead/copper). Explosives need several sources, which will be divided into two catagories, a Nitrogen source, and an Organic source.
Reloading bullets requires cordite (the propellant) and a high explosive primer (cap). More primitive weapons can use nitrocotton or gunpowder (as a propellant), and there are a variety of more primitive primers (fulminate, perchlorate, etc).
Gunpowder is the easiest to make, and it can have several sources for nitrogen, and needs no organic. The formula is saltpeter (70%) Charcoal (20-30%) and sulpher (0-10%). Sulpher can be left out, but the powder is worse. Sulpherous coal (lignite) is a good source of carbon. Saltpeter can be made by straining and drying animal wastes (as was done in the victorian age), or by finding deposits (Dif:Geo). Alternatives include charcoal (wood) or sugar for a carbon source. A Bio-reactor can be set up as a side industry to fix atmospheric nitrogen (Avg:bio, Avg:cve). This would take several weeks (2-5) to isolate the bacterial strains, during which time the reactor could be built. It requires sterile conditions (pressurized steam to empty the reactor), a large vessel, with automated stirring paddles (motorized, 1Kw/100l), and filtered areation (Motor-pump, 1Kw/100L) Each 100L vessel would be able to fix around 50 grams nitrogen per period. The nitrogen (as nitrate) would be distilled (just as in ethanol distillation), and then salted out with hydroxide (yet another side industry, but a simple one). The liquid sodium nitrate (saltpeter) would then be crystalized, dried, and powdered. Manufacture of the gunpowder is simply combining the powder elements and heat-rolling them into beads.
Cordite and PrimersEdit
To make Cordite or Primers, a higher level of industry is required. Heated reaction vessels, capable of withstanding high temperature and pressure are needed to force the organic reactions to make the high explosives. A source of Organic chemicals (toluene, acetaldehyde, acetylene) is needed, and can be gotten in two ways. First (and easiest) is the fractional distillation of petroleum. Since Petroleum is not commonly available (though it may be a good side industry to get involved in), this is not used. The other way is again by bio-reactors. A good source of natural gas is to make a huge (several hundred meter) pile of rotting garbage, and sink large pipes into the heart of the pile. This will generate 20-50 cubic meters of Natural gas per period (enough to run dozens of modern households, or one industry), and will start producing within 2-3 months of deposition. A quicker alternative is to isolate specific fermentational bacteria (Avg:bio) and extract the organics through fractional distillation. Bio-reactors can generate up to 1kg of organics per day per 100L, though good strains (dif:bio) can double that. (Incidently, this is how TNT was made during WWII).
Once the primer industry is set-up, it can instantly make all kinds of high explosives, from TNT to primercord. Plastic Explosives require several more high temp/high pressure steps and must be more carefully monitered (permenant chemical engineers on staff). Production of course depends on the quality of worker, the quality of equipment and management. Rough figures are given for small industries
- Gunpowder industry, consumes 500kg animal wastes per day, 10 workers, Large water-tanks, several large sive boxes (10mx3m), large drying beds. Buys 10kg coal per day, uses small wood fired stove (5kg wood per day). Manufactures 50kg gunpowder on a good day. Requires Avg:Cve and Ezy:Chm to setup and ezy:chm to manage.
- Gunpowder industry, consumes 100kg crop field wastes (200kg wild plant material), 10kg edible foods. 5 workers. 4 large (500L) bio-reactors (1 going at all times). Has attached Microbiology lab with sterile hood (avg:Cve+Ezy:Bio). Buys 20kg coal per day. Autoclave and pressure steam lines (consumes 15kg wood/day). Standard medium still (with power req for 1 period). Large drying beds, Produces 100kg gunpowder on a good day. Setting up a Bio-reactor is Avg:Cve+Avg:bio.
- High Explosives industry. Consumes 100kg crop field wastes, 10kg saltpeter, all the parts of a bio-gunpowder industry, Two high pressure vessels, 15 workers, 1-2 permenant chemical engineers (CHM>4), pressure hoses, valves, guages, "plumbing". Produces 20kg of high explosives / primers on a good day. Add two extra pressure vessels, and double the number of Bio-reactors to get Plastique production at 10Kg per day.
To calculate bullet loads, assume 20% of the mass of the bullet (in the listings) is propellant, and 1% is primer. The rest is cartridge and projectile.
- Mortar shells are 30% high explosive (for HE), 20% propellant, 1% primer.
- Grenades are 40% HE, 1% primer (the rest is a metal casing which fragments).
- Dynamite is 85% HE 15% stabilizer.
Halving the investment into the industry (roughly half of the things) will reduce the efficiency, 30kg gunpowder, and 6kg HE. Each HE type must be specified, and it takes 1 week to shift production from point of declaration (but no production is lost, there is just that much lag). Types of HE are Cordite (for bullet propellant), TNT (for HE rounds), Primer, and Nitroglycerin (for dynamite).
Using Gunpowder gives each small arm a maintenance value of 2 (2 hours per week cleaning) and the weapons must be cleaned up after every major battle. The range and penetration value are worse (range ½, Pen+1), and the gun will jam 20% of the time a 10 is rolled. If daily maintenance is not kept up, the jam% increases to 80% on 10, if weekly maintenance is not kept up, the gun will jam on 9 or 10 (80%), and it will get progressivly worse (jam 7-10, 6-10, etc). Black powder weapons are exempt from this, and only need a weekly cleaning.