Houdini Blues

Issue 6, September 2001

Welcome to this, the sixth issue of Houdini Blues, a subzine of TAP edited by Michael Lowrey, 6903 Kentucky Derby Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215. My email address is mlowrey@infi.net or call me at (704) 569-4269. Bonus points if you catch the music reference in the subzine name.

© 2001 by Michael Lowrey. All right reserved.

First of all, some administrative notes. Houdini Blues has a game opening in Diplomacy. This is a continuation of the game opening I had in CCC, for which Matthew Matz, Saul Spiel, Brendan Mooney, Fred Wiedemeyer, Dan Gorham, and Frank Easton had signed up. If you're one of these folks, drop please confirm that you're still interested. The game fee is $5 plus you must, of course, get TAP by one of the usual sources.

Given when this is being written, I feel I must say something about the recent terror attacks. Obviously, these are acts that will not be forgotten indeed are permanently etched in our minds for as long as we live. Others can better express the deep sense of loss felt by those that now find themselves with friends of families missing in New York or Washington.

In the rocket business, launches get postponed all the time. It's the nature of the industry ­ with each mission by even a medium-sized rocket worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars, there's absolutely no reason to take unnecessary risks. Yet even by industry standards, the reason given for the delay of an Atlas-Centaur launch scheduled for August from Vandenberg Air base in California ranks stands out. It seems that Air Force officials were concerned that the rocket might not to powerful enough to put its payload into its intended orbit!

It gets worse. Much worse actually. Back in 1992, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the operator of most of the US's spy satellites, signed a $200 million plus contracted to have launch pad 3E at Vandenberg modified to support the Atlas-Centaur and this specific payload. The NRO was apparently working on a new bird that weighed more than the converted Atlas and Titan II ICBMs used to lighter satellites into high inclination orbits could handle but, at the same time, didn't require the much larger launch capacity of the heavy-lift Titan IV. The use of the Atlas-Centaur seemed logical enough; it was a proven launcher that could put up to 12,000 pounds into the desired orbit. As fate would have it, someone was a little off in their calculations.

After years of satellite delays (the SLC-3E conversion was originally scheduled for completion in 1996), August 25, 2001 was finally selected as the launch date. A few days before launch, however, someone realized that if the rocket might not get its payload to the proper orbit if the under preformed. The launch was delayed until September 9th so the Air Force and Lockheed Martin (the Atlas-Centaur's manufacturer) could develop a fix.

The delay, however, has helped observers determine the Atlas-Centaur's payload. The mission's launch window (time of day when launch is possible to meet mission objectives) changes by 14 minutes per day. This daily amount of change and the mission's 63° inclination are consistent with previous Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) missions.

The NOSS system is designed to locate ships by triangulating radio and radar emissions. The first NOSS clusters (four small satellites to a launch) were put up in the 1970s and 1980s using less-powerful Atlas H boosters. A new generation of much larger NOSS spacecraft were launched on Titan IV rockets in the 1990s. The first two of these launches, on June 8, 1990 and November 7, 1991, were successful. The third satellite cluster failed to reach orbit on August 4, 1993. The forth and final second generation NOSS was successfully launch on May 12, 1996.

Deadline for all games is October 16.

Dumb Rocket Delay of the Month

WWI Submarine Wreck Found

As many of you are aware, I am quite interested in naval history in general and World War I naval history in particular. The Great War saw the introduction of the submarine as a major weapon system. And with any new offensive weapon, it takes a while to develop effective countermeasures. The depth charge was only introduced in 1916 and not really available in quantity until 1917. Sonar (asdic as the British called it) became available as the war ended and played no role in deciding the outcome of the war. Aircraft definitely accounted for three submarines during the entire conflict and of those, only one was German.

If antisubmarine warfare was in its infancy, what was the single greatest cause of submarine losses? The answer, surprisingly, is mines. Both the Germans and British laid large fields of mines to reduce the other side's ability to operate freely.

German divers recently discovered on of the victims of these mine fields. The British submarine E-16 disappeared on August 22, 1916 with a crew of 31 off Helgoland. The boat was assigned to hunt German submarines as they transited to and from their North Sea bases.

The wreck lies in some 45 meters of water. The aftermost five to ten meters of the boat were destroyed by the mine blast. Indeed, it took divers some time to determine that the exact type of submarine they were dealing as only one of the boat's two propellers could be located. The exact location of the wreck was not revealed to prevent other divers from disturbing the war grave.

Harald Haarfager

Viking Dip, Spring 959

Pete Conrad (99I)

Diplomacy, Fall 1908

Denmark (4) dan, fla, fri, par

England (9) ice, ire, lon, nid, nmd, sco, str, wes, yor

Sweden (12) ark, bir, fnl, got, hed, nov, nrl, pol, sax, ski, thu, zea

Notes: The deadline for Fall 959 is October 16.

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Denmark Steve Mauris (sjmauris@hotmail.com)

A Par-Pal, F Hel-Fri, F Dan S F Hel-Fri (imp), A Jut U (H) (d, ann)

England Kevin Wilson (CKevinW@aol.com)

Build A Lon, A Yor. F Nth C A Yor-Ski, A Yor-Ski, A Str S A Yor-Ski, A Nid S A Yor-Ski, F NAt-Bar, F Sco-NAt , F Eng Ch S Danish A Jut-Fri (nso), F Nmd H, A Lon H

Sweden Pat Conlon (aparrotlaughsat40@msn.com)

Build A Got. A Nrl-Fio, A Fnm S A Nrl-Fio, A Ski H (d, jau, otb), A Got-Hed, F NBS C A Got-Hed, F SBS C A Got-Hed, F Zea S A Got-Hed, F Kat-Jut, F Ska S F Kat-Jut, A Thu-Par, A Sax H, A Mec S A Sax

Press: Sweden-England: Unless you are finally prepared to convoy some armies onto the continent and relieve the doughnut (er, Danish) of his s/c's, he ain't hanging in there, he's just hanging.

Sweden-Denmark: So, how are they hanging? Separately or together?

Austria (7) bud, gre, rum, ser, tri, ven, vie

England (6) edi, lon, lpl, nwy, stp, swe

France (12) bel, ber, bre, den, hol, kie, mar, mun, nap , par, por, spa, tun

Germany (0) war Out!

Italy (1) rom

Turkey (8) ank, bul, con, mos, nap, rum , sev, smy, war

Notes: The Winter 1908/Spring 1909 deadline is October 16.

Austria and Turkey each build one. The map is on the next page.

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Austria Mark Kinney (alberich@iglou.com)

A Apu S Turkish F Tyn-Nap, A Tri-Ven, F Alb S Turkish F Aeg-Ion, A Gal S Turkish A War, A Bud-Rum, A Vie-Tyl

England Paul Milewski (yellowpajamas@hotmail.com)

A Yor-Nwy, F Nth C A Yor-Nwy, A Stp-Lvn, F Bar-Stp (nc), F Bot-Stp (sc), A Lpl-Wal

France Steve Mauris (sjmauris@hotmail.com)

F Pru-Bal, A Ber-Pru, A Sil S A Ber-Pru, A Kie-Ber, A Bel S F Hol, F Hol S English F Nth, A Bur-Mun, A Mun-Boh, A Tyl S A Mun-Boh, F Lyo-Tyn, F Tun S F Lyo-Tyn, F Nap-Apu (d, ann), F Mid-Wes

Germany Fred Wiedemeyer (wiedem@planet.eon.net)

NMR! A War r otb. No units.

Italy Steve Cooley (scooley1@mediaone.net)

A Rom-Ven

Turkey Pat Conlon (aparrotlaughsat40@msn.com)

A Mos S A War, A Sev S A Mos, A War H, A Ukr S A War, F Aeg-Ion, F Adr S F Aeg-Ion, F Tyn-Nap

Press: Constantinople-GM: The zine arrived in the mail August 29. Not much time left for negotiations. Course, there's not much negotiating left in this group of thieves and liars.

France-England: We should be able to move you into Moscow next year. Do you see a problem with that?

France-Italy: You are right, I screwed up. I am going to pay for my perfidy.

France-Turkey: You never talk to me. How come?

Constantinople-Paris: Are you still in eastern Europe?


Outpost, Turn 15

HBDC IV (Wilson) passes.

GM: Michael Lowrey (mlowrey@infi.net)

Deadline: Turn sixteen orders are due October 16.

Purchase Order: HICK, SARA, Little Green Men, Exploitation Unlimited, Bartertown Mark II, HBDC IV, Major Miner.

Upgrades available: (minimum bid in parentheses) 2 Moon Bases (200), Planetary Cruiser (160), 2 Robots (50), 2 Heavy Equipment (30)

Yet to be delivered: 4 Moon Bases, 5 Planetary Cruisers, 6 Space Stations, 2/3 Outposts, 0/1 Ecoplants, 0/1 Laboratories, 2/3 Robots, 0/1 Orbital Labs, 2/3 Scientists

Notes: The new deliveries were a Moon Base, Planetary Cruiser, and two Robots. Exploitation Unlimited, HICK, Little Green Men, and SARA each take a MegaWater card. HICK takes a MegaTitanium card. All Outposts are at their population maximums.

HICK (Hood) buys four population (Ti10, Ti10). HICK opens the bidding on and wins for 30 Ecoplants (MWa). HICK then opens the bidding on the Orbital lab and wins it for 50 (Mi15, Ti13, Ti8, Wa8, Wa6).

SARA (Andruschak) buys two New Chemicals Factories (Re 17, Re15, Or3, Or3, MWa, Wa9, Wa8, Wa8, Wa7, NC20). SARA also opens the bidding on and wins for 30 Ecoplants (NC16, NC14) and buys population (Wa6).

Little Green Men (Partridge) opens the bidding on the Laboratory for 83 and wins it (Ti13, Ti11, Ti11, Ti11, Ti10, Ti10, Wa7, discount). Little Green Men also buy a Research Factory (MWa) and the population to man it (Wa6).

Exploration Unlimited (Hassler) buy 2 robots (NC20) and a New Chemicals Factory (MWa, NC18, Re12).

Bartertown Mark II (York) passes.

Major Miner (Conlon) buys a New Chemicals Factory (NC18, Re11, Ti13, Ti9, Ti9) and transfers population to it.

Outpost Factories Upgrades VP

HICK OrF, OrF, 7 x WaF, 3 x TiF, ReF, p HE, No, No, OL, OL, La, EP, EP, OP 48

S.A.R.A. OrF, OrF, 9 x WaF, 5 x NCF Wa, No, No, Sc, Sc, EP, OP 44

Little Green Men OrF, OrF, 6 x WaF, 4 x TiF, ReF DL, HE, No, OL, La, EP, OP 38

Exploitation U OrF, OrF, 4 x WaF, 4 x NCF DL, Wa, No, Sc, OL, OL, Ro 33

Bartertown II OrF, OrF, 3x WaF, TiF, 4 x TiF Wa, HE, La, EP 20

HBDC IV OrF, OrF, 2 x WaF, 2 x ReF, 2x NCF DL, DL, DL, Wa, La 19

Major Miner OrF, OrF, WaF, WaF, TiF, TiF, 3 x NCF DL, Wa, HE, La 18

Houdini Blues Diplomacy Player Addresses

Pat Conlon P.O. Box 1413, Mammouth Lakes CA 93546

Steve Cooley 23927 Ranney House Ct,Valencia CA 91355

Steve Mauris HQ TFF, G2, Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, APO AE 09340

Paul Milewski 7 Mallard Dr, Amelia OH 45102

Mark Kinney 4820 Westmar Terrace #6, Louisville KY 40222

F. Wiedemeyer 975 Jordan Crescent, Edmonton AB

T6L - 7A6, Canada

Kevin Wilson 373 Gateford Dr, Ballwin MO 63021