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Questionable Martian tactics
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Posted 13/11/2006 12:51
Supreme Being
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Why didn't the Martians just lob out black gas canisters on Horsell Common? In the long run, the gas is alot more lethal than the heat-ray...
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Posted 13/11/2006 17:33


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Could be a multitude of things really, but mine would be:

1/ H.G hadn't come up with the Black Smoke until later on in the story (bearing in mind that the story was firstly serialised in 1897)

2/ H.G didn't want the Martians wreacking to much havoc this early into the story

3/ H.G didn't want to take take away the savagery of the Heat Ray in the first part of the book "The Coming Of The Martians"

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Posted 14/11/2006 00:19




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I would say the 3rd choice on HCs list was probably the most viable.  HG made a massive amount of reference to the power and the deadliness of the ray.

 

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Posted 14/11/2006 12:00
Supreme Being
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So, clearly only for literary reasons then!

Additionally, the heat-ray is certainly alot faster than the gas (not dissimilar I suppose to the machinegun vs. Mustard gas in World War 1) and the 'shock tactics' of a row of tripods swinging their heat-beams to and fro would also lend itself to mass panic, very important in the first few stages of the invasion... (again, perhaps not dissimilar to the German Blitzkrieg of World War 2... refugees clogging up the main arteries of transport and communication thereby limiting the defender's response...).

The Martians only begin to use the gas after suffering some losses, don't they? So, maybe this is 'Plan B: In the case of a slower advance on London, use Gas.'

  

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Posted 14/11/2006 13:11


Martian Elder
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That's one way at looking at it. Yes, the Martians did seem to turn to the Black Smoke after loosing a handful of machines. First one during the Weybridge/Shepperton attack and then the heavy loss during the THUNDER CHILD battle.

Something else to note, that during Dead London, the narrator mentions how preserved London is considering it has fallen to the Martians, mainly due to the use of their Black Smoke -  maybe the Martians had run out of key eliments that powered the Heat Ray. 

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Posted 14/11/2006 18:37
Supreme Being
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Additionally, they might have wanted to keep london from destruction for some unknown reason.

Or, maybe they just didn't want to get bogged down in an urban conflict... A tripod loses alot of advantages in a built up area. Put a man in a clock-tower with an elephant gun and BOOM! a shell right in Jhonny Martian's face...

 

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Posted 12/06/2007 22:19


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The Martians wouldn't be very smart using weapons of mass destruction against an enemy who isn't a mile away.
They do not expect (and do not meet) serious opposition, so there is no need to use this dangerous weapon that probably would alarm the humans and cause the food ressources to flee. Furthermore they have no environmental suits. The black dust detonations seem to be pretty heavy, so it would be too much risk, in my opinion.



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Posted 13/06/2007 17:08


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i agre the martian wouldn't want to bleed the food resors up but wouldnt the heat ray have the same adves afect. ether one says to me there here to kill us lets move out off there area and maybe even the contre at once but instead they just get on with there everyday life's for some reason so i think the reason the martian's us there heat ray instead of anythink else the the same reason a child would kill a sworm of ant's with a magnifin glass one by one in stead of just standing on them all at once's. it FUN

 

 




the earth belonged to the martian's  UUUUUULLLLLLLLLAAAAAAAA

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Posted 16/06/2007 07:42


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Think it'd be more a case of they come up with the Black Gas after studying human anatomy once they got here.

How can they come up with a toxin effective against humans when they're hundreds of millions of miles from a real one?

Or Wells was making it up as he went along.

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Posted 16/06/2007 21:06




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Some interesting and very valid points here.

I believe that the book mentions that there are human-like remains in the cylinder... so they would have had the chance to create a kind of black smoke on Mars but wouldn't have had the chance to test it properly on humans.

The first strike was vital... they didn't have time to allow humans to organise, they relied on swift destruction. Had they used the gas and it not worked they would have not only failed to kill the humans, but given them a big black smoke screen from within which to counter attack.

You also can't ignore the fact that they wanted to create blind panic...

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