Groundbreaker

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Groundbreaker

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Many of the achievements of Markov’s Circle in the few years since the arch-spy’s return from Antarctica have taken the form of breakthroughs in land-based engines and weaponry. The White Army is so central to Tsar Vladimir’s ambitions that the monarch demanded nothing less.

However, ironically, it is the application of naval principles to land-based warfare that resulted in the Circle’s greatest and most spectacular achievement to date – the mighty Kursk Class Land Dreadnought. Markov and his team took over supervision of the project, codenamed ‘Plan Prokhorovka’, developing designs that had been languishing on the drawing-board since 1863.

The result was a revolution in military technology – the world’s first Armoured Dreadnought. Christened the Kursk Class, after the small town situated next to the White Army’s primary proving grounds, the first of these gargantuan machines rolled off the production lines of the great manufactories of Kharkov in 1867.

Russian Coalition - Kursk Class Land Dreadnought

Russian Coalition - Kursk Class Land Dreadnought

Russian design principles emphasise size and strength, and the Kursk amply fulfils both requirements. In scale, it is staggering, almost half again as large as the Belgorod Land Ship, fully capable of overrunning smaller vehicles. It’s massive hull, like those of all Russian war machines, is clad in layers of ablative plating for extra protection.

The massive machine carries a huge array of firepower commensurate to its size. Its three-turret main battery mounts naval-pattern ordnance whose destructive power rivals even that of the Borodino Class Battleships of the White Navy. This is supplemented by serried broadside gun batteries and a triple array of mighty mobile mortars.

The refinements of Markov’s Circle are unmistakeably in evidence. A Mimic Generator pulses in its heart, special metal alloys are used throughout the machine, and a Sturginium Thermal Pressure Engine provides prodigious power. The Kursk is even capable of a temporary surge to its speed, becoming an even more frightening spectacle to the White Army’s foes.

Most remarkable of all, the Kursk is large enough to incorporate internal ‘hangar’ facilities, accessed via a great armoured ramp. This hangar houses a close escort force of Tikhvin Class Small Tanks, providing additional fire support and assault troops.

The Kursk was first seen in action in the opening stages of the White Army’s assault on the Prussian Empire, when the Ivan Grozny single-handedly crushed the great Prussian fortress at Wehlau, on the road to Konigsberg. This achievement was one of the first to cause the rest of the world to take fearful note of the newfound power of the Tsar’s armies.

A Word from the Designer

When the time came to create the models for the Russian Coalition there were a lot of crazy ideas flying around the office, including mad concepts for special vehicles that would rival centrepiece models like the iconic Metzger. It reached such a state that somewhere in the medley of creative ideas the Russians were given several never-before-seen land models to add to their ranks.

One of the most exciting concepts was the titanic monstrosity known as the Kursk Class Land Dreadnaught. The fabled might of the Russian Coalition’s land forces had to be followed through to its logical conclusion – the biggest trundling armoured battle platform Dystopian Wars has seen to date. While some of the mobile airfields stand taller or bigger, this is the largest ground assault vehicle we’ve yet made.

Kursk Class Land Dreadnought with the Belgorod Class Land Ship

Kursk Class Land Dreadnought with the Belgorod Class Land Ship

Designing it was both a joy and a nightmare: creating a new unit type is always an interesting exploratory exercise, but with a model this big the geometry alone takes a great deal of time to build.

It was all good and proper extending the chassis out and multiplying the already astounding number of wheels, but the square shape didn’t feel right on such a behemoth. Staggering the outer wheels to give the centre a greater sense of mass did the trick and from there the monster built itself through the tiered platforms and upwards past the three turrets.

Though some land forces in Dystopian Wars have a little more flair, the Kursk Land Dreadnought is a no nonsense killing machine, brutal in its industrial functionality. This creation sports a terrifying armoured ram on the front, ready to smash into the enemy at full force. The rear of the ship houses a small hangar brimming with either armoured or aerial support.

To War!

Since the Kursk Class Land Dreadnought first appeared on the front lines of Eastern Europe, White Army combat doctrine has shifted to fully embrace its devastating potential. Coalition Commanders know well the resource outlay required to bring one of these armoured monstrosities to the field, and as such, strive to make full use of its extensive capabilities. Following is a summary of the forefront tactics emerging from its extensive field testing.

The Kursk Land Dreadnought rolling thunderously, dwarfing its surroundings

The Kursk Land Dreadnought rolling thunderously, dwarfing its surroundings

Matching the gargantuan bulk and resilience of the Mobile Airfields brought to battle by other nations, and reinforced with the Coalition’s trademark shell of ablative armour, the Kursk is the toughest vehicle yet seen on the world’s battlegrounds. Therefore, it is unsurprising that they have seen immediate use as the front of the White Army wall formation.

Here, the enormous shadow they cast is sufficient to shelter whole Squadrons of middle- or lightweight vehicles from incoming fire. If flanked by one, or even two, Belgorod Land Ships, an enormous footprint is created in which the better part of a battle group can take cover.

As always, the core principle of this tactic is to roll the Kursk, and its supporting elements, straight toward the enemy, endeavouring to close as quickly as possible to bring the Land Dreadnought’s formidable battleship grade firepower to bear on the enemy Armour. To this end, the Dreadnought’s Thermal Pressure Engine is designed to withstand short bursts of extreme stress, allowing the tank to leap forward in sudden surges and keep pace with its faster support.

A Prussian Empire A9-V 'Sturmpanzer' comes up against the Iron Giant

A Prussian Empire A9-V 'Sturmpanzer' comes up against the Iron Giant

The Kursk is also fitted with one of the mysterious ‘Mimic Generators’. These esoteric devices can copy the function of nearby generators. In practice, land ship Captains will initially use their Mimic to imitate generators within their own fleet, normally providing an extra Rocket Jammer to better protect the battle group. Then, once they are buried deep amid the foe, they will begin to ‘steal’ other generators effects, creating much confusion in the enemy ranks.

As the Kursk moves forward a trio of mortars partially compensate for the lack of range of its turret battery. Although unable to perform the same area devastation as the Volochok Class Bombards, these are still apt at picking apart middleweight vehicles, or blunting large squadrons of Small Class tanks.

Coalition Commanders have also found the facility to attach a patrol of small craft to the Land Dreadnought to be a huge advantage, particularly with the flexibility they are afforded. When anticipating heavy air resistance, a Squadron of Fighters will accompany the vehicle to protect it from aerial threats. Conversely, when simply additional fire support and assault troops are required, a small group of Tikhvin can be deployed instead.