Introducing the Sonic Amplifier

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Introducing the Sonic Amplifier

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First Look

The science of Land Ship construction has been pursued with some vigour by the Federated States of America. Indeed, American industry focused on the development of these massive vehicles over and above even their naval and aerial equivalents before and during the nation’s Civil War – unsurprising, given that most of the nation’s warfare up until fairly recently was conducted within the vast continental interiors of North and South America.

A Tennessee Class Land Ship takes the fight to the Blazing Sun

A Tennessee Class Land Ship takes the fight to the Blazing Sun

The Tennessee Class Land Ship entered service only recently with the Federal Land Fleet, as well as with several larger State armies within the Federacy. It is an outgrowth of both the older Washington Class and the Trenton Medium Tank, utilising the same huge central track arrangement for motive power.

As with the new Reno Class Tank, the Tennessee Land Ship is effectively an alternative body-shell and weapons system built over the existing running gear and powerplant of the Washington – another example of the standardisation that lies behind the designs of much American equipment.

Although lacking the Washington’s amphibious capability and heavy firepower, the Tennessee design instead incorporates far greater versatility. Although still packing the punch of a twin-barrelled Orlington piston-turret for its primary armament, the Land Ship is built with the ability to mount a substantial array of Generators in mind.

Tennessee Class Land Ship

Tennessee Class Land Ship

The Tennessee’s entry into service coincides with the perfection by American scientists of their version of a new Generator – the Sonic Amplifier. FSA development of devices of this nature – previously thought to have been created first in Antarctica – is thought to have been an outgrowth of the powerplant research presided over by Dr Franz Oppenheimer of the ‘Project Thunderclap’ programme.

Highly amplified soundwaves have proven very effective in incapacitating armoured vehicle crews and defensive weapon systems. The source of the sounds created by the machines is usually a form of gramophone recording, although several commanders on trials are thought to have employed regimental bands playing ‘live’ to assist in powering the device! Although almost certainly unofficial stunts, such stories have gained great currency as propaganda pieces for the American newspapers – even patriotic songs can flatten the enemy!

The design of the Generator mount is universal, allowing engineers to fit the most appropriate device to the vessel for the mission it is to be engaged in. However, should these valuable devices be unavailable or not required, the area can be used to mount a powerful rocket battery of the same type used on the Independence Class naval battleships.

The last feature of the Tennessee which adds to its versatility is its considerable transport capacity. Where the Washington’s hull sponsons are devoted to watertight compartments and paddle wheels to propel it through the water, the land-bound Tennessee instead employs its capacious side sponsons to ship supporting forces on board. This provides it with integrated close support. Many FSA armoured commanders favour the use of a Tennessee as their flagship if they are not assigned a Mobile Airfield for this very reason.

Tennessee Class Land Ship

Tennessee Class Land Ship

A Word From The Designer
While I still dearly love the Washington Class Land Ship, the functional requirements of the model had a vast impact on its shape; the amphibious capability, combined with the iconic white-house top, played up the riverboat feel immensely, hiding away the grungy track on the underside. In contrast, all the other FSA tanks feature the mono-track as a core element of their aesthetic.

The Tennessee was an opportunity to give the FSA players a different kind of Land Ship and it was my opportunity to go back to the design and bring out the track again. The Reno proved to be the template for this design, with the hull proper sitting above the track with the heavy turret mounted there – the Tennessee merely takes this to a new level.

This time the heavy Land Ship turret is pulled forward to rest on the peak of the big-wheeled track design, while behind it sits the broad balcony that houses the necessary generator upgrades for the Tennessee. On either side of the massive tracks sits the crew compartments and infantry bays, free of the mechanical labyrinth of the compartments set within the span of the tracks themselves. Most of the design is functionally obvious and fairly straightforward in its layout but there are always a few little touches that I enjoy adding. My favourite here is the dinky forward observation spot nestled between the massive churning tracks, a precarious and unpleasant spot for anyone to sit in for too long: the constant motion and roaring sound of the massive fore wheels eroding the occupant’s sanity.