Rolling Thunder

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Rolling Thunder

Written by Spartan Franco | Tags:

The mighty White Army has always been the backbone of the Russian Coalition’s military strength and it remains so today. Its importance is such that both the White Navy and the White Air Armies are subordinate to it in the military hierarchy of the Russian Coalition. The Stavka is dominated by its senior officers. Even the Tsar himself still measures the military might of his dominion by the strength of his land armies above all else.

For generations, the White Army has relied upon its vast reserves of manpower to form its heart and soul, and even today, it operates many Rifle Regiments composed almost wholly of infantry.

However, the Russian military has for many years held a strong appreciation for armour. Even during the Prussian Wars at the turn of the 19th Century, the Russians deployed large numbers of crude but effective tanks against Prussian Emperor Heinrich Otto’s invading legions.

The Belgorod Class Land Ship closes in to finish off the remaining Blazing Sun

The Belgorod Class Land Ship closes in to finish off the remaining Blazing Sun

Since the early 1860s, Tsar Vladimir has pursued an aggressive armaments modernisation program, utilising the Coalition’s enormous industrial capacity to produce a whole new generation of devastating fighting vehicles. These have equipped the Armoured Battle Brigades and Tank Regiments of the Shock Armies that form the new iron heart of the Russian land military.

Like all of the great powers, Russian scientific and engineering know-how received a great boost from the treasures disseminated by the Covenant of Antarctica. But the Tsar’s scientists and researchers also had an extra source of information above and beyond Lord Sturgeon’s gifts.

This became abundantly clear when the traitor Markov returned to his homeland, bearing with him a wealth of previously forbidden knowledge from the Covenant’s hidden records. Quickly established within a kremlin deep in the heart of the empire, Markov and his Circle began applying their expertise to the Russian Coalition’s latest war engine designs. Naturally, the White Army was at the front of the queue to reap the benefits.

Thanks to Markov’s influence, the tanks and Land Ships of the Coalition sport many advanced features hidden within the harsh, heavy and industrial lines of their hulls. As with all Russian military engines, the White Army’s armour is immensely strong and resilient. They sport multiple layers of ablative plating, designed to blunt the impact of enemy fire.

Unusually, most Russian tanks and heavier vehicles run on a series of huge interleaved wheels rather than caterpillar tracks. Not only are they simple to maintain, the huge, solid discs of Sturginium-reinforced alloys are much more resistant to damage. They even form part of the protective armour on many vehicles – the mechanisms being easily able to cope with the loss of an individual wheel or two.

Likewise, the White Army favours weaponry that is simple, direct and massively destructive. Russian ordnance on land, like that employed at sea, is short-ranged but brutally effective at crushing enemy armoured vehicles and fortifications alike.

A Squadron of Kamchatka outflank the Prussian lines, and pounce on their vulnerable Bombards

A Squadron of Kamchatka outflank the Prussian lines, and pounce on their vulnerable Bombards

However, not all the White Army’s firepower is limited to close-quarters hammering. The Russian artillery has always considered itself an elite force within the Tsar’s military. Like the armoured regiments, the artillery has also been furnished with a whole new suite of heavy siege mortars and howitzers to allow it to pound the enemy at a distance, no matter where they may be hiding.

Regardless of their size, all White Army war machines are capable of holding a considerable number of fighting troops on board. This is a deliberate feature of Russian design. The protection of infantry within the hulls of armoured fighting platforms harks back to the Kievan Rus horse-drawn war wagons of centuries ago.

The garrisons of Russian tanks, Land Ships and artillery pieces are provided by the White Army’s Streltsi units. These are infantry regiments specifically raised to protect the Shock Armies’ valuable machines from enemy sabotage attempts, as well as to launch boarding assaults themselves.

Though largely formed of conscripts, what they lack in elan is made up for by sheer weight of numbers and unstinting loyalty to their Tsar and Motherland. However, it has to be said that their many zealous Oprichnina overseers also play a key role in maintaining discipline.

The Belgorod Class Land Ship forms the majority of the Shock Armies’ heaviest engines. Running on massed banks of wheels, the Belgorod is a veritable rolling fortress, able to cover all possible angles of attack.

The dense Coalition formation threatens to roll over the Blazing Sun resistance

The dense Coalition formation threatens to roll over the Blazing Sun resistance

The Belgorod is designed for aggressive operations, capable of wading into the midst of enemy armoured formations and then blasting away at targets on every bearing. The behemoth even mounts a battery of guns specifically placed to cover its rear arc, presenting a nasty shock to enemy forces attempting to outflank it. As well as its revolutionary engine, the Land Ship also mounts Markov’s extraordinary new generators. A Jammer is fitted as standard, providing an extra defence against enemy rockets.

The main strength of the White Army’s armoured regiments is provided by the rugged Kamchatka Class Medium Tank. Part battle tank and part assault vehicle, the Kamchatka’s dorsally mounted main turret is heavily supplemented by powerful gun batteries in casemates along each broadside.

Supporting the Kamchatka squadrons is the more numerous and highly versatile Tikhvin Class Small Tank. They boast heavy forward gun battery as well as a short-ranged cluster of mortars.

This latter weapon is capable of laying down a vigorous bombardment as the vehicle advances, even against enemies hidden from sight. Although individually these mortars are limited in effect, the White Army almost always deploys Tikhvins en masse in large squadrons. The collective firepower of such units can be fearsome indeed.

Lastly, the primary equipment of the artillery regiments is the Volochok Bombard. A variant of the Kamchatka, the Volochok replaces the tank’s main turret and much of its infantry accommodation with a disc-shaped raised platform, upon which is mounted several heavy multiple-tube mobile mortars.

Massed bombardment from the Federated States fails to penetrate the White Army's defences

Massed bombardment from the Federated States fails to penetrate the White Army's defences

As with all of its machines, the White Army command prefer to employ their artillery pieces in large numbers, laying down massive crushing bombardments. Volochok-equipped artillery units have proven particularly valuable in reducing the huge complexes of the Wolfgang Fortresses on the Prussian border.

With these new weapons at its command – and many others besides – and backed up by the expertise of Markov’s Circle, the White Army has gone to war. The earth itself shakes beneath the Russian march, and it will surely not be long before many other nations feel their fury.