The Quatermaster Loader Tank is a support armored unit built by Thundan Armored Enterprises in recent years. The title of "tank" is a slight misnomer, as it is based more on the amount of armor - officially, the unit is a half-track ammunition transport.
|Manufacturer||Thundan Armored Enterprises|
|Product Line||Support-series Tanks|
|Class||Heavy Support Tank - half-tracked vehicle|
|Size||8.19m x 3.21m x 2.31m|
|Crew||4 (Driver, Drone operator, loader-mechanics)|
|Prototype Designation||S-38 Loader Tank|
After House Thunda began to focus on armored warfare, with an emphasis on tanks, it was found that the vast majority of tanks were suffering in prolonged engagements due to the lack of energy weapons. While lasers could fire as long as the engine was running, the finite ammunition of a ballistic or missile weapon was an issue. To compensate, Thundan Armored Enterprises created a heavily-armored half-tracked vehicle, designed almost completely around sets of ammunition and fuel storage, each compartment armored from destruction with sealing C.A.S.E.
These units, while lacking in weapons, had the speed and size required to operate close to the front lines, although clearly not on them. Once set up, a crew would load tanks and other armored vehicles until their vehicle was devoid of the needed ammunition, something that could take three or more vehicles to accomplish. When totally emptied, with the maximum speed of 70kph, the Quartermaster would return to base. Normally, these units would operate in teams of three, with an armored guard of light tanks to harass and push enemies away. Most tanks also carried ammunition racks for infantry, complete with brand new rifles and sidearms if required. Half of the crew was made up of experienced mechanics, to give that extra edge by healing.
The first operations of these units pitted them in the assist of an armored assault legion in a friendly training battle with G.U.N. Ninth Division members. It was the presence of these units that gave the Thundan forces the advantage they needed, with almost all of the tanks reloading and repairing without returning to base, which put the G.U.N. forces on the back foot.
Features & Crew Training
Each one of these support units carried a standard diesel engine, which was capable of propelling the half-track at speeds of up-to 70kph. The armor, while not as thick as that of a Duelist Main Battle Tank, was reasonably thick, to help protect the carried ammunition as well as the crew. Machine-gun and small-caliber cannon ammunition is always carried on-board one of these units, while larger caliber rounds and specialty ammunition would be carried when assigned to work with units equipped in such a manner.
Just because these units are unarmed doesn't make them pushovers, either. As mentioned, half of the crew is made up of trained mechanics, while a third member of the four-man team is a drone operator. Each unit carries three armor-hunting drones, designed to stealthily attach to enemy vehicles and gain intelligence until a signal is sent, where the drone would burrow into the engine, crew compartment or fuel tank and detonate.
The mechanics were no slouches either. Typically trained to know the weak points of a wide array of vehicles, techs were known to convert the profile of a tank's engine when it was in their area, with tanks retreating from the battlefield often having speed governors disabled to try to ensure the crew's safety with added speed. In other cases, tanks would have extra armor created from discarded objects in the area, slowing them down but giving them more time to survive on the field. In the rare case of gaining access to energy weapons, the mechanics could temporarily override some of the safety controls to give a massive boost in power, but at the same time putting the unit in danger of damaging itself. Such overrides would be deactivated after roughly fifteen minutes for crew safety by the main computer.
If encountering civilians, all members of the crew were trained to deal in propaganda and persuasion, often convincing civilians in the area to retreat to safer ground, or to donate materials to create makeshift armor. Likewise, if stationed in a friendly outpost, all members of the crew were trained to maintain and improve protective walls and gates in the same improved manner as they would with tanks. Even if left near an enemy base, the crew could cause havoc on repair and production facilities, stealing components for their own use or disabling automated functions. This last portion of training was one that crews would often violently disagree with using, as it would involve getting the unarmed ammunition storage unit into close distances to an enemy base.
Despite all of it's strengths, the Quartermaster Loader Tank has a few major weaknesses. While the ammunition and fuel stored on an average unit is protected from fire coming from outside the unit, explosives placed inside or underneath the vehicle could bypass the C.A.S.E. and turn the half-track into a flaming explosion in a literal flash. Likewise, these vehicles have no defense against any form of vehicle aside for an escort, leaving them vulnerable when isolated.
- Ahtan Quartermaster - Unlike the units used by the Thundan Army, the Quartermasters operated by the Ahtan military are equipped differently. The self-destructing drones are replaced with a wider variety of drones, which in turn has shrunk the total ammunition load slightly. Repairs remain a key portion of the units focus, but as they have more emphasis on speed over firepower, the crews are not trained to create improvised armor or walls.
- Drone types on an Ahtan variation include:
- Limpet mines, which stealthily attach to enemy vehicles for the same purpose before detonating with an EMP to disable the vehicle, normally in places where they can ambush and capture the target.
- Drill-drones, which tunnel beneath the enemy and then strike from beneath, which is effective against bases and slow-moving vehicles.