With sandy blonde hair and a bushy mustache, Colonel Locker Chapman looks like the dapper British gentleman. Unlike many other mechanists, he eshews the traditional leather arming caps, goggles, and other accoutrements. He favors the stiff and crisp field dress uniform complete with leather bandolier/belt and officer’s cap.
Despite his adherance to regulation attire and impecable personal grooming, the Colonel has a very deserved reputation for being highly eccentric. He is almost perpetually surprised by the most mundane of things, but remaining cool and calm in the face of adversity. This causes no small amount of frustration among his men. More than one of his subordinates has wondered if the Colonel has lost his wits when he ignores incoming artillery and mortar fire, with all the concern of a lobotomy patient. This is all the more disturbing when only a few hours before, the same man was on top of a car shouting for one of his officers to kindly remove the wild bird from his command tent.
If asked about his fearlessness, which borders on lunacy, he replies duty is duty. if inquired about his fits around strange animals, children, certain inanimate objects, and so forth, his voice rises an octave and he refuses any knowledge of said event.
Born in rural England, Locker was an ambitious youth, dreaming of joing her majestie’s Land Battleship Armada. He and his friends fought mock battles across the countryside. They fought the Battle of New York, where Cornwallis sent his Mark II land battleships against the Continentals holed up in Manhatten. They fought the battle of New Orleans around the local mill pond. Sticks were guns, rocks were thrown grenades.
It was no surprise when Chapman was accepted into the Army. Everyone was surprised when he failed out of the Land Battleship training program. Instead, he was placed with the squadrons of the Armored Car divisions. It was not long after joining the RNACD that the Second Anglo-Prussian war erupted. With France and Russia, England fought the Germans across the continent. While the Land Battleships were engaged in the vicious battles of Ypres, Somme, and the Marne, the Armored Cars were sent into battle as scouts and spotters for the big guns. Losses were stunning. The cars were lost to mines, static guns, lurking Land Cruisers and artillery fire. During this time, Chapman earned a measure of recognition, leading first a single car, and then a group of cars. His men soon learned to follow their slightly eccentric commander, as it seemed fate smiled on him and his.
After the Second Anglo-Prussian war was over, there was a period of disbanding and disarmament. The Land Battleships remained bright in the public eye, the weapons that won the war and secured Brittania and the Dominions from the savages. The Armored Car squadrons, having survived mortars, mines, anti-armor guns, and a myriad of other assailants, was defeated by the slash of a beaurocrat’s pen.
Freelancing in the American Dominion
Chapman, who had always dreamed of serving in the Queen’s military now found himself without a job and no skills demanded in the job market. While not without some cash, Chapman had no desire to squander it away on games of cards, gin, and loose women. Instead, he invested his money and purchased several automobiles and had them shipped to America.
America had been a boiler of problems since the Continentals had taken up the notion of declaring independance from the Empire. While the rebellion, the 1776 War, had been put down, there was always a fight somewhere across the pond. If the Dominion wasnt fighting a Continental revolt, there were the Indian Nations, the Spaniards in Florida were always spoiling for a fight. If that wasnt enough, there was the French satrapy of Louisiana, bordering against the half eaten Republic of Texas, and the Republic of California across the Rockies. Chances were, a British ex-pat with a squadron of armored cars and battle experience could find good work and better pay.
Liechester Armored Car
A very basic steam-propelled car, the Liechester is built around a reinforced boiler that produces roughly 50 hp. This is more than ample power to move the moderately armored car up to 70 mph. The car mounts a 2 pounder gun in an open turret mounted above the reinforced rear axle. The driver has a front mounted Bren gun he can fire while driving. The car requires a crew of 3 to operate, a driver, a gunner, and a commander who generally uses a pivot mounted Boys anti-tank rifle. Col. Chapman has 9 Liechesters at the current time.
Reliance 1911 Truck
The Reliance 1911 is a cheap and easy to acquire vehicle in the Americas. With a large motor and flat bed, it is commonly used as a transport truck. Chapman has had two of these trucks armored, their axles reinforced, and glass screens thickened. The main armament of Chapman’s Model 1911s is a surprisingly large 6 pounder anti-tank gun. This gun does cause the truck considerable problems. Recoil from the weapon causes excessive stress on the vehicle, so the two Reliances are very unreliable. The guns are flawless in operation, but the trucks have constant axle and suspension problems.
Chapman has three of these slightly older and smaller Reliance built trucks. Two are configured to be enclosed haulers. The squadron refers to them as the Collier Cars, as they are used to carry extra fuel oil for the Liechesters and the 1911s. The third 1906 was originally a pressurized fire truck, but the high pressure pump was removed and now the vehicle is the squadron water tank, keeping the boilers wet while the colliers keep the boilers hot.
Chapman is a somewhat socially awkward person, more comfortable being shot at, or working on a burning boiler than speaking at a cocktail party. He has seen a great deal of combat and the carnage of war. This leaves him sometimes morose, wishing he had followed in his father’s footsteps and become a lumberjack.
Have Car, Will Travel - As a mercenary Armored car company, Chapman and his men can easily move anywhere. Their services can range from fighting gun to gun with light armored foes, such as Red Indians, Continentals who rarely have anything heavier than a home made armored car themselves, or any other indegenous people who rise up. The cars are light and fast, and easy to transport compared to either large numbers of infantry, and certainly easier than moving the Land Battleships.
Looking For a Few Good Mercenaries
The Squadron almost always has openings, be it from deaths in battle to men retiring and taking their wages back to England or whereever they were from. A motor-car crew can make good money shooting up things, but will have to deal with Chapman’s oddities. The squadron carries things such as a full silver tea service, which is used daily. The car carrying the service can expect every effort to be made for their recovery if lost in battle. On one occasion, one of Chapman’s personal bags ended up on another car, quite oddly it contained a number of women’s undergarmets though the Colonel has no lady friends.
The Unexpected Cavalry
Horse cavalry, though uncommon, is not gone. A Land Battleship is a monsterous and ponderous thing, and a group of men with guns and fast horses can skirt around one quick. Chapman’s cars can do the same thing, either flanking the PCs if they are foes, or dashing to the rescue, 2 pounder guns a blazing.