|APAGear II Archives||Volume 3, Number 9||October, 2001|
While the main focus of the Heavy Gear is to combine the flexibility of infantry with the firepower and armor of a LAV, it is still often inferior to a specialized vehicle of either type. Notable examples from recent history being the Predator Hovertank and Mordred GREL Supersoldier, Heavy Gears may not have lost their niche in battlefield operations, but were severely taxed by the new CEF Hovertanks- in essence combining the attributes of regular combat tanks with the unprecedented mobility of low altitude aerodynes, a deadly combination that severely lessened the rough-terrain hit-and-fade combat advantage that signified Terranovan Heavy Gears.
Throughout the War of the Alliance, various new methods were developed to fight these alien threats, ranging from bags of White Sand and shrapnel mines thrown into intakes, to modifications of standard armor-ambush tactics with high-caliber armor-piercing weapons.
However, one of the most effective (though dangerous) methods was the complex and ancient art of tank hunting. Originally dating back to the mid second century CE, various groups of specially trained infantry equipped with heavy weapons would pit themselves against the primitive might of early "land ironclads." For the next three millennia the weapons and enemy evolved dramatically, while still remaining eerily unchanging. From First and Second World War Panzerjaegers, Bazooka teams, and Panzerschrek soldiers, to the Planetar Tankbuster exoskeletons used in the later Crusades, these elite footsoldiers fought hard to maintain the ancient balance between infantry and armor. But with the advent of the Heavy Gear, tankhunting changed dramatically. As Gears bridged the two, they naturally began to prey upon both their progenitors. Early designs such as the Marabou Marauders Griveton and the later Assault Hunter and 'Jaeger developed to combat increasingly tougher but still terrain tanks.
When the CEF dropped the first hovertank into the deserts of the Badlands, tank warfare had taken a turn against the upstart Heavy Gear.
While old antitank methodology managed to defend against the CEFs' "whining death," it was clear that the losses sustained doing so made another war using the same tactics and technology against such sophisticated and formidable armor assets a wasteful endeavor both in cost of equipment and lives lost.
The initial answers to hovertank power were simple, redesigns and refits of some of the more successful A-HT Gears and armored vehicles, of which there were obviously few. Some of the primary chassis to receive such refits were the perennial southern Cobra and Mamba chasses, and the Grizzly and Hunter models from the northern hemisphere. However, where the South simply created a few refit kits and turned to other pursuits, the North was posed by a different problem. Namely, that one of the foremost of those "other pursuits" being developed by the southerners was the Republican Army XST project, a Humanist-assisted research program that northern leaders feared would end with the Confederacy facing even more flying tanks.
As desperate times often end in hasty measures, the CNCS immediately diverted money into the famous Northco Skunk Works, followed by similar contributions to Shaian and Paxton.
Unfortunately, while several prototypes were produced, only Paxton designs truly showed serious promise as flexible heavy anti-armor Gears, and recalcitrance over releasing offshoots of their Elite program technologies for widespread production, and thus widespread reverse-engineering, quickly damped any serious ideas of releasing the specialized Agamemnon and Myrmidon variants that had developed.
During the time this techno-xenophobia was hampering Paxton, Northco was busily at work trying to make a second-generation Grizzly, in much the same way the Jaguar had been developed from the Hunter. Working prototypes were coming along toward production well, and while not a complete success, the experimental chasses seemed destined to win the race to production. Hearing of this through various sources, Paxton finally resolved to release its' already-completed designs for inspection, choosing to lose some of their technological edge rather than the contract.
Unfortunately, a mere three days before the announcement of the Peltast tank-hunter, that design and all information concerning it fell victim to the now infamous anti-matter bomb that eradicated Paxton Arms R&D along with most of Peace River.
So, by default, Northco got the job.
But the Northco design was not nearly as ready for production as the Paxton Peltast, and to help cut down production time they subcontracted Hartmore Motor Works and pooled their now-supplemented resources with the equally perplexed designers at Shaian, putting forth a Herculean effort to win, even if for only one-third of the contract.
While in theory such a merger would cause confusion and chaos, the newly amalgamated Hyena Project seemed to start off like a shot. Where the normally tight-knit special projects engineers had previously been hampered by security and limited in their component resources, the combination of Shaian actuators, Hartmore expertise in heavy weapons, and Northco engineering, the first Hyena prototype rolled off the production line four days ahead of deadline.
Heavily armored, surprisingly agile, and impressively armed, the Hyena was a high-performance next-generation combat walker that many test pilots claimed was "Like a Jaggie that evolved from a Grizzly instead of a Hunter."
Indeed, while slightly over-budget and teetering on the fine line of military approval, requisitions for Hyenas were already being sent by several Northern Guard, WFPA, and NLC regiments, most notably the Roving Guns and Cats Paws.
Following such strident approval from pilots and impressive combat trial results, the Hyena entered a limited production run in 1942 and is scheduled for more widespread production in the following cycles.
In combat, the Hyena is a fearsome sight. Designed not as a medium Gear with heavy armor and weapons, but as a heavy Gear with unparalleled agility and speed. Using motive systems derived from the Panda and combining advanced Shaian actuators with a Hartmore-devised partial-turbine heavy V-engine, the Hyena is as flexible as a common Hunter but carries all the armor and weaponry of a tank-killer Grizzly. The only noticeable stumbling block of the Hyena is the new actuators that give it such flexibility are currently rarer and marginally more expensive than the lower grade hydraulics in other machines, making repairs somewhat more difficult. As if to counterbalance that irksome maintenance issue, the Raven anti-tank missiles used in the Hyena rocket launcher are fully interchangeable (by adding or removing the guidance system) with the RGL-30 recoilless cannon that the Hyena carries as a hand-held weapon.
Currently, some experienced tank-killer squadrons have requested a modification kit that would allow them to mount jump-jets, which they claim would increase effectiveness dramatically. Designers are unsure about the weight of the machine versus jump jets available, but are considering experiments along those lines.
HACS-03HG-AT Hyena Tankbuster Heavy Gear Purpose: Anti-tank Heavy Gear Production type: Late model Prototype Sensors: +1 Sensors Range: (4km) Fire Control: 0 Coms: +1 (25km) Manouver Rating: 0 Base Armor: 19 Armor Material: Advanced composite Default size: 9 Actual size: 8 Walker top spd: 60kph SMS top spd: 78kph Weapons: RGL-30 Bazooka MBZK (40 rnds +1 acc) Rocket Pod-18 MRP/18 (36 rnds) SR-GL APGL (12 rnds) Raven-6b rocket pod ATM (6 rnds, IF) Mk 32-A Grenade HHG (4 grenades) Vibroaxe VA (one) Perks: Improved Off Road Target designator (ATM) ECCM (r1) Reinforced Crew Compartment Reinforced Front Armor (r4) HEAT resist (r3) Flaws: Difficult to Modify Exposed weapon system (ATM) Annoyance: hot cockpit (maintains a steady temp of 38 c with hatch shut)
Seeing the impending sucess of the Hyena, development of a command version was initiated even before the first production prototypes were being assembled. Should the Hyena contract be accepted, the Gnoll (named after a mythical half-man half-dog warrior race) or "Heavy Hyena" will be ready for the offering.
Based off a discarded heavy-duty chassis design from the latter phase of preproduction, the Gnoll is somewhat of a hodgepodge of failed ideas from the Hyena project. The expensive and rare Skall-45 carbine railgun used as a primary weapon on the Gnoll was originally intended for the Hyena, but due to cost and maintenance was dropped from the mass-production model. Similarly, the turreted laser-designator and back-mounted Spiculum heavy autocannon were also judged to be too expensive for a line unit, and both systems installed on the first Gnoll were scavenged from failed Hyena prototypes.
With the Hyena a very serviceable Heavy Gear against both tanks and infantry, the Gnoll is meant to provide not only a frightening array of squad-support weapons, but also a full suite of electronic warfare and communications systems that grant it above-average performance compared to other command-variant Heavy Gears.
HACS-03HG-AT/CMD Hyena Gnoll Command Tankhunter Heavy Gear Purpose: Advanced command/squad support Heavy Gear Production type: Early prototype Sensors: +1 Sensor Range: 5km Fire Control: +1 Comms: +1 (30km range) Manouver: -1 Base Armor: 21 Armor Material: Advanced ceramic w/Advanced composite Base size: 9 Default size: 10 Walker top speed: 54kph SMS top speed: 72kph Weapons: Westfellows RGL/Skall- 5 carbine railgun SC (20rnds, -2 rof, +1 acc) Paxton Spiculum-75 75mm Heavy AC VHAC (60 rnds, turreted) Panzerfaust launcher MPZ (16rnds) 9mm minigun LMG (100 rnds, ff) PA-RP18 Rocket pod MRP/36 (72rnds, IF, AEO) [Various model] grenades HG 5 grenades Perks: Target Designator (+2 to friendly guided attacks) Rugged Mov Sys Reinforced Crew Reinforced Front facing (r3) HEAT resistant (r3) Sattelite Uplink Searchlight (50m, swivel) Ammo/Fuel containment Flaws: Difficult to modify Large Sensor Profile HW vulnerable (r2)
|APAGear II Archives||Volume 3, Number 9||October, 2001|
Heavy Gear is © 2001, Dream Pod 9, Inc. All rights reserved. APAGear is not affiliated with Dream Pod 9 in any way. Submitted material remains the property of the creator.