Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wargaming H.G. Wells - War of the Worlds - Carey Suits.

One of the iconic images of H.G. Wells - War of the Worlds is the Martians use of the black smoke, or black powder used to eliminate groups of humans, especially artillery crews Any animal or human inhaling this deadly smoke is killed almost instantly; but the smoke becomes harmless on contact with water and the Martians would dispel it after each use with jets of steam .

The Armoured Infantry were a freebie from the AQOTMF Kick Starter and I figured I could find a potential use for them, within the 1898 setting of the 1st Invasion.

Looking over the castings I went off to find some historical background and found the following which seems the prefect back drop for this project.

Source: English Mechanic and World of Science – Volume 53, 1891 – Page 351
Col. William Carey, C. B., late R.A., the “crustacean diving dress,” which he has protected by [Great Britain] patents 3083, 4467, and 6494 of 1890.


Publication date    Oct 27, 1891
Filing date    Oct 31, 1890
Inventor    William Carey
Patented in England February 26, 1890,No. 3,083.
Be it known that I, WILLIAM CAREY, C. B., colonel Royal Artillery, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, and a resident of Southampton, England, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Diving Dresses.

My invention relates to diving-dresses, and is designed to improve the construction and increase the efficiency of the same. Heretofore diving-dresses have usually been constructed in such a manner that when the diver is in the dress one or more additional weights are required to cause him to sink in the water. Moreover, such dresses have ordinarily been so made that the pressure of air within the diving-dress has had to be maintained equal to that of the water on the exterior of the dress. Consequently with the diving-dresses hitherto constructed the diver himself when working at great depths is subjected to very heavy pressure.
My present invention is designed to facilitate the carrying out of submarine operations–that is to say, to enable divers to work with safety at greater depths and for longer periods than has hitherto been practicable, and to move in the water with greater ease and comfort than heretofore. 

I so construct my improved diving-dress that it will withstand very high external pressure, thus obviating the necessity for introducing air under similar pressure into the dress. The pressure of the water is therefore borne not by the body of the diver, but entirely by the dress itself. 
My diving-dress is made with peculiarly constructed spherical joints, whereby the separate parts of the dress are united in such a manner that the diver can freely use his limbs, and which are so constructed that the outer spheres of the said joints, which are formed in separate halves or parts, will be firmly closed and held together by the external pressure of the water, and very light clasps.
Another feature of my said invention is the construction of the diving-dress in such a manner that the head-piece or helmet and the trunk or body portion extending to the stomach of the diver are or may be formed in a single piece, whereby a considerable increase in capacity is secured, and a storage of air is obtained sufficient to enable the diver to breathe for a considerable time in the event of injury to the air-tubes.

With the Martian incursion some 8 years later a few adaptions and you have yourself a suit designed to withstand the Black Smoke and a degree of historical context to boot.
Hence the Carey Suits were pressed into service on dry land.

Looking over the castings it appeared they were armed with a heavy weapon of sorts, so I figured moving the period back 25 or so years why not arm them with large calibre rifles capable of firing things such as the Nitro Express Cartridge which was invented in 1898.
That should give the martian invader something to think about.

It was the creation of the world famous London gun maker John Rigby, recognized founder of the Nitro Express and the .450 double rifle that fired the cartridge. A nitrocellulose-based cordite that was far more effective because it gave off almost no smoke and was three times more powerful than black powder.

John Rigby

John Rigby called his powerful new rifle, the "Nitro Express Train Rifle". A short time later, the train rifle part was dropped, leaving Nitro Express as it stands to this day.  

Who says sci-fi can't be educational....

Suggetsed Martian Empire Stats for those interested.

No. of Stands
Hits per Stand
Fire Factor
Combat Factor
Morale Factor

Carey Suit Infantry
Weapon range 40cm.


  1. Well I learnt something today:)

    1. This is a public service blog Steve.

  2. Stu where do you find the time I mean really where ?
    Cheers Gav .

    1. Just under 30 years of prep Gav and things are finally coming together.