ARMIES OF THE GREAT INTERPLANETARY WAR
THE UNITED STATES ARMY
The US Army was a small affair at the time of the Second Martian Attack. Consisting of Cavalry,Artillery, and several Infantry Divisions, it was spread out across America in small garrisons. As theUS Army met the Martians, they did so in dribs and drabs at first and usually after a long journey bytrain, followed by a long march. They literally were ground up piece by piece under the superior machines of the Martians.In fact, the Martians
to stop at the Mississippi. They weren’t really stopped by the US Army. This
proved to be the chance that America needed. It plunged purely and fully into rushing new war
materials and recruits to the ‘Front”. Fortunately, the Martians spent severa
l months consolidating inthe West. This gave the Americans just enough time to fortify the Mississippi Line.In 1910, America runs on coal. With the largest and most advanced railway system in the world, hugecoal reserves, and the petroleum industry still in its infancy in many ways, coal was the fastest resourceto exploit in defending against the Martian invasion. In addition, steam engines were a well-developedtechnology. The manufacturing base (to produce more) was in place on a large scale, and it could all bedone quickly. This last bit was particularly important as the American army was very tiny incomparison to the amount of territory that had to be defended and technologically ill equipped. Withthe exception of a few primitive trucks and steam tractors, the American Army was a horse drawnaffair of towed guns, cavalry, and infantry. These forces were virtually useless against the Martians. If America had any hope of survival, it needed new weapons, vehicles, and technologyIMMEDIATELY. It was both natural and logical to turn to the strengths of its current industrial base.While defensive lines of massive trench works and fortifications could slow the Martians, it certainly
didn’t stop them. What was needed was defense in depth and the abi
lity to relocate resources to repelan attack at its point of origin.
was becoming a far more mobile affair. The one advantagemankind did have was numbers. Getting enough numbers into action to absorb the Martian attackswas a key factor. This meant vehicles (and due to the appalling losses against the Martian technology),LOTS of vehicles. The automotive industry was tiny, just beyond the cottage industry level. Ford was just beginning. The biggest producers of vehicles were the railroad companies. Baldwin LocomotiveWorks, The American Locomotive Company, Lima and others soon started building more steamtractors that eventually became armoured to improve their survivability and then tracked to increasetheir mobility. Within a matter of months, it was clear that standard designs would speed productionimmensely. Thus was born one of the single greatest accomplishments in perhaps all of industrialhistory. America went from having virtually no self-propelled military equipment to assembly linesproducing thousands of vehicles in the course of a single year.So there you have it. Steel and coal are the materials of choice. The great locomotive companies of theindustrial East bring their expertise to production. Oil and the refining of it into suitable fuels likekerosene, gasoline, and diesel fuel is far less abundant than the vast coal fields of West Virginia andPennsylvania and with the Martians putting tremendous pressure on Texas, supply looks sketchy.Petroleum does make it onto the battlefield in the form of internal combustion engines used for motorcycles, armoured cars, the new aeroplanes etc., but it is steam that powers the huge gun carryingvehicles with their heavy steel and ceramic armour on the battlefield. At the time of the Great
Interplanetary War’s beginning, internal combustion engines simply were not advanced enough to
provide the power needed for some of the larger military constructs and in America, refined oilproducts were in short supply compared to the need.
End of the preamble!