Assume that paramilitary siege weapons were proliferated to the general public after America fell. Details below, but basically short of multi-billion dollar tactical weapons such as advanced fighter jets and nuclear submarines, anything that can be built by a resourceful family in a well-equipped garage is available to the Feudal Lords of America. You want your dynasty safe when Uncle Sam can’t help you any more. What do we build?
I will set a weapons price cap at $500,000 in US equivalency, 2020 dollars. This price is not only the weapon but includes the research and production facility to design and test and make it. The cost estimate is not expecting hard science.
The premise here is based on the ROI: No siege victory will recover a cost greater than this in a reasonable time, and investing long-term is stupid when your neighbor may lay siege on you tomorrow just as well. A castle is designed to defend against local turf wars.
Examples: Per my limited knowledge, a neighbor may lay siege with weapons from the following list, which is ordered by availability from cheapest to most expensive:
- Sniper rifles,
- Assault rifles,
- fast rappelling gear,
- artillery guns,
- armored tanks (primitive ballistic),
- private aircraft with bombs,
- dirty bombs,
- EMP weapons,
- chemical bombs,
- cyber warfare viruses (controlling or disabling fortification systems)
Metal and ore processing is available to most Lords at a high cost. Assume they have access to energy (which is what makes them Lords), so they can forge and shape metals and machinery. Manufacture a 6-ton canon will take a lot of metal away from something else. Having more than one tank is very unlikely. There is no federally regulated manufacturing infrastructure. Assume you are not the unfortunate neighbor of an iron mining dynasty, but you can trade with one as well as anyone else.
No first-world America weapons are left. They were used or have become unusable through neglect. One “may” renovate a tank, for example, but it has no support structure building custom parts or lubricants or artillery, so it is of little more use than a large rolling mass. A tank would be more effectively built anew.
Given: Castles of old were conceived very specifically to combat the weapons of that age. Battlements, towers, arrow slits, burning oil channels, motes, draw bridges; all engineered for weapons of that age. None of these features generally apply to modern siege weapons.
The typical castle has ready access to stone, concrete, brick, wood, and earth. Metals and ores are costly and need to balance between offensive and defensive applications. I.e., a dynasty building a fully armored assault regimen likely has a picket fence around their property, and vice versa. Build a tank and likely you have three less tractors working your fields.
The fortification would be a routine safe seat of government as well as an emergency shelter, it would not normally wall off the whole community which may number as much as 25,000. It should provide short term emergency shelter for a siege of several weeks if needed, allowing time to secure outside help. So stores and warehousing materials to rebuild are part of the function.
It is peace time however there is no rapid response from the government if your property is attacked. The public generally disfavors war because everyone knows they could just as likely be next. So, castles plan for small paramilitary forces operating covertly or in a clandestine assault under direction of some Lord. A force would be expected to be no larger than 75 soldiers.
What would a castle designed to repel modern paramilitary siege weapons look like?
Effectiveness: The solution needs to be a deterrent, given that an impenetrable fortress can’t exist. A castle simply makes siege “not worth the expense.” Every dynasty still needs to meter the amount of pissing off they do. That’s my job as the story teller. Political correctness and all that, you know.