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Hack For More

Heavy Metal

by Edward McEneely
Feb 15,2005

 

Hack For More

Heavy Metal

Eventually, the players will get back to gaming, I'm told. Until then, here's a quick look at some of the nifty whizbang walkers appearing in my world, complete with enormous and now useless GURPS Vehicles 3rd Edition stat blocks. (If someone wants to try and convert these to Gear Krieg or D20 Mecha or something, I'll be impressed, to say the least.)

TL(5+1) PzAt III Panzerartillerie

Crew: 5 total. Driver controls motive systems, Junior Gunlayer controls arms and arm-mounted rockets, and Commander directs vehicle operations and operates wireless. Senior Gunlayer loads and fires field piece. Searchlight operator mans searchlight.

Subassemblies: Vehicle +4, 2 x Legs +3, Body +4, Right Arm +1, Left Arm +1, Limited-Rotation Artillery Mount +3, Limited Rotation Retractable Searchlight Mount +2.

P&P: 115-kW gasoline engine (short term access), 108-kW legged drivetrain (no access space) [Legs].

Fuel: 30 gal gasoline (fire 11) [2xLegs], 30 gal self-sealing standard fuel tank (fire modifier 0) [Legs].

Occ: three normal crew stations (improved access) [body], cramped crew station (improved access) [Artillery Mount], cramped crew station (improved access) [Searchlight Mount]

Cargo:

Armor             F    RL   B    T    U
Legs              4/55 4/55 4/55 4/55 4/55
Body              5/98 4/65 4/65 4/65 4/65
Right Arm         4/45 4/45 4/45 4/45 4/45
Left Arm          4/45 4/45 4/45 4/45 4/45
Artillery Mount   4/75 0/0  0/0  0/0  0/0
Searchlight Mount 4/25 0/0  0/0  0/0  0/0

Weaponry                 Malf Type Damage     SS Acc 1/2D yds Max yds RoF TL
75mm revolver launcher   -    Cr   -          20 0    -       -       1/2 5
68mm rifled breechloader 16   Cr   4dx10      30 14  1,200    5,400   1/6 5
68mm solid ammo          -    Cr   4dx10      -  14  1,200    5,400   -   5
68mm SAPLE ammo          -    Cr   4dx10(0.5) -  14  1,200    5,400   -   5
                         -    Exp  7d+1 [6d]  -  -     -        -     -   5
75mm Rocket              16   Exp  4dx10[6d]  -  13  950      950     -   5

Equipment

Body: three telescopes (F, magnification x9); set of navigation instruments; microframe computer (complexity 1; compact, dedicated, mechanical); medium range wireless radiotelegraph (10-mile range); +2 targeting program (C1); 20 rounds 68mm solid ammo; 20 rounds 68mm SAPLE ammo.

Right Arm: 75mm revolver launcher (F); six 75mm missiles (huge LE warhead); arm motor (ST:150, bad grip, cheap).
Left Arm: 75mm revolver launcher (F); six 75mm missiles (huge LE warhead); arm motor (ST:150, bad grip, cheap).

Artillery Mount: 68mm rifled breechloader (F); ten rounds 68mm solid ammo; ten rounds 68mm SAPLE ammo; universal mount (field gun). Searchlight Mount: searchlight (1-mile range, signal lamp shutter).

Statistics
Size: [LxWxH] 8'x8'x12.3' Payload: 2,360 lbs. Lwt.: 60,959 lbs. Volume: 786 cf Maint.: 30.8 hours (3.12 mh/day) Price: $422,935

HT: 11 HP: 864 each [Legs], 1,900 [Body], 208 each [Arms], 267 [Artillery Mount], 126 [Searchlight Mount].

Ground Performance: Motive Power 108-kW, Top Speed 15 mph, gAcc 10 mph/s, gDec 20 mph/s, gMR 1, gSR 1, Ground Pressure 2,642 lbs./sf, Off Road Speed 10 mph.

Operating Duration: 8 H 41 M 44 S.

Germany's top-of-the-line model PzAt in 1883, the PzAt III boasts a gasoline engine, eliminating the hassle of coal-fired engines, as well as an evolutionary development of the Napoleonic Congreve Artillery rocket for artillery work. Equipped with a wireless telegraph set, this machine can coordinate with other PzAts to form a tactical unit able to provide artillery support, or (as some revolutionary thinkers are beginning to suggest) to perform as a sort of "land frigate", scouting ahead of the army to gather intelligence on enemy troops, and able to destroy anything it can't outrun. Critics argue that this will dilute the firepower advantage inherent in PzAt formations, and suggest they would better be served by attacking en masse as a shock formation, supported by the armee blanche, that is, cavalry. They envision armies of cavalry supported by a strong core of PzAts. A third school of thought suggests that the best place for the PzAt is advancing within a strong formation of infantry, mitigating the machines' vulnerability to "swarming" tactics; critics believe this will only draw fire onto the infantry.

Essentially, the PzAt III is a machine in search of a mission. Experience against other walkers is limited almost to nil; only the Russians have actual experience with Walker-to-Walker engagements, stemming from border disputes with Turkey, but nobody disputes the fact that in those cases, neither side had modern equipment or adequate training. Without a clear idea of how these machines will function in the next war, the German General Staff is left to argue it out amongst themselves.


TL(5+1) Gloire Land Cruiser

Crew: 5. Driver operates vehicle. Commander directs driver and operates gatling gun. Stoker fuels engine. Gunlayer aims 75mm field piece and Loader reloads it.

Subassemblies: Vehicle +5, Body +5, Limited-Rotation Turret +3, 4 x Legs +3.

P&P: 240-kW sterling cycle heat engine (short term access) [Body], 120-kW legged drivetrain (no access space) [Legs].

Fuel: 27 cf solid fuel bunker, 27 cf coal.

Occ: cramped crew station (improved access), two cramped crew stations (improved access), [body]; two cramped crew stations [Turret]

Cargo:

Armor  F     RL   B    T    U
Body   6/150 5/98 4/35 4/65 4/45
Turret 6/150 4/55 4/25 4/55 
Legs   4/55  4/55 4/55 4/55 4/55

Weaponry                      Malf Type Damage   SS Acc 1/2D yds Max yds RoF TL
75mm rifled breechloader      18   Cr   6dx7     30 13  810      4,200   1/6 5
11mm rifled mech. gatling gun 14   Cr   6d       20 11  310      2,400   *   5
75mm solid ammo               -    Cr   6dx7     -  13  810      4,200   -   5
75mm LE ammo                  -    Exp  10d [6d] -  13  810      4,200   -   5

*(RoF=Skill+Dex/2)

Equipment
Body: microframe computer (complexity 1; dedicated); 25 rounds 75mm LE ammo; 12 rounds 75mm solid ammo; 11mm rifled mech. gatling gun (F, casemate, medium barrel); 400 rounds 11mm solid ammo.

Turret: 75mm rifled breechloader (F, medium barrel); 12 rounds 75mm solid ammo; 15 rounds 75mm LE ammo; universal mount (75mm); telescope (F, magnification x15).

Statistics
Size: [LxWxH] 21.5'x9.5'x10' Payload: 3,786 lbs. Lwt.: 96,605 lbs. Volume: 2,066 cf Maint.: 19.6 hours (4.89 mh/day) Price: $1,039,338

HT: 10 HP: 2,218 [Body], 510 [Turret], 956 each [4xLeg].

Ground Performance: Motive Power 240-kW, Top Speed 25 mph, gAcc 10 mph/s, gDec 20 mph/s, gMR 0.5, gSR 3, Ground Pressure 1,895 lbs./sf, Off Road Speed 15 mph.

Operating Duration: 2 H 48 M 45 S.

The Gloire is France's answer to the PzAt III, and in its effort to be bigger and better, it suffers from a number of deficiencies. It's nearly triple the price, half again heavier, and consumes its entire bunker capacity in less than tree hours, rquiring an immense amount of logistical support that would seriously overstrain any army hoping to operate in the field.

However, the Gloire has other advantages (especially on paper), that give the French cause for glee and the Germans cause for consternation. It's remarkably well-armored, able to shrug off direct hits from field guns to the front of its hull or turret, and its protection covers its entirety, shielding the crew from shrapnel or snipers. (Some suggestion has been made that its short endurance is a positive boon as well, as no man could be expected to last long in hot confines of the vehicle for long.) Its main gun is a powerful and modern breechloading piece of exceptional reliability and capable of elevating for indirect fire, enabling the Gloire to fire over hills or from behind fortifications. It's astoundingly fast, able to easily outpace a PzAt or a horse, and its four-legged design grants it exceptional stability. In addition, it is furnished with a gatling-style machinegun for countering infantry attacks, enabling it to defend itself.

As might be expected a feud has sprung up between the Artillery and Cavalry branches of the French army, both of whom lay claim to the machine. It is in fact so expensive that purchasing it has caused much else in France's army to fall by the wayside, including improved infantry rifles and new uniforms to replace the famous red trousers and blue overcoat.


TL(5+1) Britannic-Class Walking Cruiser

Crew: 4 total. Driver operates vehicle and controls machine guns. Gunner fires howitzer. Stoker fuels engine. Commander directs vehicle and operates wireless.

Subassemblies: Vehicle +3, Body +3, Right Arm -2, Left Arm -2, Open Mount -2, 2 x Legs +2.

P&P: 28-kW quadruple expansion steam engine (short term access), 25-kW legged drivetrain (no access space) [Legs].

Fuel: 3.27 cf solid fuel bunker, 3.27 cf coal.

Occ: normal crew station, two normal crew stations, normal crew station, 4-man environmental control system

Cargo:

Armor     F    RL   B    T    U
Body      4/45 4/45 4/45 4/45 4/45
Right Arm 4/30 4/30 4/30 4/30 4/30
Left Arm  4/30 4/30 4/30 4/30 4/30
Legs      4/30 4/30 4/30 4/30 4/30

Weaponry               Malf  Type Damage    SS Acc 1/2D yds Max yds RoF TL
7.7mm rifled automatic Crit. Cr   5d        17 11  390      2,800   16  5
55mm rifled repeater   16    Cr   5dx5      25 12  690      3,800   1/2 5
55mm SAPLE ammo        -     Cr   5dx5(0.5) -  12  690      3,800   -   5
                       -     Exp  4d [4d]   -  -    -         -     -   5

Equipment
Body: two telescopes (magnification x9); medium range wireless radiotelegraph (10-mile range); 55mm rifled repeater (F, casemate, short barrel); 20 rounds 55mm SAPLE ammo; 20 rounds 55mm solid ammo.
Right Arm: arm motor (ST:50, cheap, striker); 640 rounds 7.7mm solid ammo; 7.7mm rifled automatic (long barrel).
Left Arm: 7.7mm rifled automatic (long barrel); arm motor (ST:50, cheap, striker); 640 rounds 7.7mm solid ammo.
Open Mount: searchlight (F, 1-mile range).

Statistics
Size: [LxWxH] 6'x6'x8.3' Payload: 1,350 lbs. Lwt.: 18,044 lbs. Volume: 294 cf Maint.: 45 hours (2.13 mh/day) Price: $197,229

HT: 12 HP: 598 [Body], 34 [Right Arm], 34 [Left Arm], 10 [Open Mount], 244 each [2xLegs].

Ground Performance: Motive Power 25-kW, Top Speed 13 mph, gAcc 5 mph/s, gDec 20 mph/s, gMR 1.5, gSR 1, Ground Pressure 1,385 lbs./sf, Off Road Speed 10 mph.

Operating Duration: 5 H 50 M 21 S.

The British are perpetually on a tight budget of one sort or another, and their land forces are little more than (as Lord Fisher was to put in in a later decade) "a projectile to be fired by the navy". Mainly intended for Colonial service, British walkers are smaller, less well-armed and armored, and above all, cheaper than those produced by the Continental Powers. As such, the Britannic is just well-protected enough to resist shrapnel or glancing hits from light artillery, but it's utterly incapable of winning a stand-up fight with another walker. It does boast a rapid rate of fire; an important qualification for facing down numerically superior opponents. It is by far the lightest European walker, at nine tons; it ships easily, and thanks to the (relatively) low price, most of the bigger ships of the line and British embassies in trouble spots have one or two on hand in case of eventualities.

This has sparked a rather nasty custody battle between the Army and the Royal Navy, both of whom feel that their service alone has the necessary expertise to operate the Britannics. The Royal Navy, of course, has great experience with steam power and with gunlaying, whereas the Army obviously has more knowledge of the conditions prevalent in land warfare. As the situation stands, both services are drafting seperate requirements for future vehicles.

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What do you think?

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