The Stoudenmire was a unique mech that was designed and built with the limited industrial and technological resources available to the nascent Rocky Mountain Republic. The mech at the time was only a few decades old as a fighting platform, and several nations were eyeing the Rockies for their strategic and mineral resources. This didn't sit well with the residents of the region who had little interest in joining Texas, the Republic of the Great Lakes, Cascadia, or California. Lacking access to some of the more advanced equipment, the mountaineers went with what they knew, how to fight and defend their mountainous homes.
The Assault/Bombard Mech
The core tenet of theassault bombard mech is a heavy vehicle that is able to provide long range artillery support when needed, and direct fire heavy firepower when needed, without requiring an excessive amount of equipment to move. To this end, the Stoudenmire is not much more than a very large bore cannon perched on a heavy mech chassis. It isn't very fast, nor is the cannon and targeting system very accurate, but given the large size of the shells fired, accuracy was less of a concern.
When not providing ranged fire support, the Stoudenmire could engage in direct assault operations, bringing its large gun to bear blasting enemy mecha, fortifications, and armor and infantry formations. While in the battles that marked the birth and baptism of the Rocky Mountain Republic, the Stoudenmires performed many more fire support missions, their appearance in assault and supporting assault roles remains iconic.
Few people, even those strapped into a hulking mech, are able to argue with the effectiveness of a walking 250mm cannon.
Born of Need
During the early years of the Second Renaissance, the Rockies were somewhat isolated from the tech boom. Technologies did reach the region, but for a brief time it was easier to go into space than to fly across the mountains. This lagging tech proved a boon as many people who were fiercely independent and not interested in the living in arcologies and constant immersion in CogNet media found common interests with residents of the mountains. This caused a population boom while people tired of the onset of techshock left the Great Lakes, California, and New England.
This boom created a valuable pool of manpower and mineral resources that were yet to be exploited and it followed that the nations of North America started gearing up for war to see who would hold the Rockies. The residents started working with what they had, which was industrial mecha technology, mining equipment, and an understanding of 'go big or go home'.
The Stoudenmire is very simple as far as mecha go. The machine has a standard military hybrid drivetrain utilizing both power cells and basic fusion engines. This left the machine relatively slow, but having the high ground, the mountaineers had many power hook ups and umbilical stations in place to support the mecha in their bombard roles. Also in such mountainous terrain, the speed and mobility of other mecha was hindered, while the Stoudenmires had the luxury of the home field advantage and the high ground as well.
The main weapon of the mech was the naval grade 250mm cannon. Firing a 10 inch wide, 500 pound shell, the cannon was a fearsome weapon. As an artillery piece it easily matched the heaviest artillery pieces in use, but beat them with its mobility and versatility. Fighting in the mountains, the cannon smashed enemy mecha, disrupted logistic trains, and turned many a forward base, firebase, and landing area into a cratered ruin.
The Battle of Wheeler's Peak
Wheeler's Peak ended up becoming a southern stronghold for the RMR, and the focal point of the ground conflict between the republics of Texas and California. The battle turned into a three way brawl when the RMR 360th Mecha Brigade entered the fray. The Texan and Californian units had been fighting for several weeks over which nation would claim the wastelands of what had been New Mexico. California has take Albuquerque, but Texas held most of the southern part of the state and was logistically in better position. The 360th maintained fire support operations for two days, disrupting the Californian ranks, and causing heavy damage to the Texan forces. Supported by mountaineer air cavalry, and conventional infantry, the Stoudenmires lead the final charge, laying down staggering fire in assault mode. Pausing only to brace and fire, the mechs ripped apart the Texan lines and caused a major route of said forces after destroying the commander's mech and killing most of the commanding officers of the invading force. The Californians retreated to their base at Albuquerque and licked their substantial wounds.
A variant of the Stoudenmire appeared later in the production run, and it replaced the 250mm cannon and its heavy (and expensive) ammo with cheaper semi-guided 300 mm rockets. The Rocket Stoudenmire was only used in artillery roles, and later was adapted to fire the smaller 125mm anti-aircraft 'Beehive' missile. These air defense mecha cut down the air superiority of the Great Lakes Republic and their helocraft and electroprop fighter/bombers.
The Battles of Fort Laramie and Devil's Tower
The Great Lakes Republic had an easier time invading the Rocky Mountains as it did so without fighting with a neighbor. While there was certainly agitation between The Republic of Texas and the GLR, this was tempered by the fact that Texas had the Mexican Federation as an ally, and the GLR was already allies with the Confederation of Southern States and the Commonwealth of New England. Any scrap between the two powers could quickly escalate into a continent wide major war. The Battle of Devil's Tower proved a tactical defeat for the RMR, and it saw the loss of a large portion of it's conventional mech forces and a major loss of equipment and personnel among the mercenaries in the Republic's employ.
The Battle of Fort Laramie saw combined arms of several mercenary companies, supported by the remaining mecha in Wyoming province, engage and defeat the GLR expeditionary force. The GLR forward command was setting a drone control center to begin robot operations in the state, using their Combatotrons and drone tankettes when the 94th Mobile Infantry advanced, destroyed the entire facility with N2 low yield nuclear shells, and broke the back of the GLR army in the region.
The Stoudenmire was a product of corporate espionage played out by the Iron Ghost and his ersatz puppets, Amerikka Command. In exchange for providing the RMR with technological and materiel aid, the Ghost and his extremist allies cemented themselves a safe home base in the heart of the continent. Amerikka Command provided some training, and a large number of mercenaries, and assisted in constructing the factory in Denver that would build the Stoudenmires. This inside gave Amerikka Command access to a mech construction facility, and half a dozen major mechadromes across the RMR.
Amerikka Command never fielded the Stoudenmire, codenamed 'Titan' by the GLR and more commonly known as the sledgehammer or walking battleship by the troops that had to fight them.
The Stoudenmire IV
The Stoudenmire remains in military service, long after the RMR joined the Atlantic Federation. The newest incarnation of the venerable design has replaced the primitive powerplant and electronics suit with more suitably advanced gear, and the conventional cannon has been upgraded to a magnetic accelerator cannon (MAC). The 200mm MAC has proven to be a far superior long arm compared to the original black powder 250mm cannon fielded by the Stoudenmire I, but on the field on battle, few things match the awe inducing thunder of one of the big old guns clearing its throat.
The Stoudenmire sees service mostly in Africa in the arsenals of Nigeria and Federation Congo. The SAUR (South African United Republics) have learned to avoid bunching up their armor and power armor units for fear of the devastating accuracy of the Federation 'Titans'.
The ACPS has a knock off version of the Stoudenmire/Titan that mounts a 150mm coilgun. The Feng Po'Po is more commonly known as the Foo Dog by those who have had to fight the assault machines. The Po'Po is generally a smaller, technically inferior machine, but there are a larger number of them in existence.
The official replacement for the Stoudenmire is currently on the drawing boards in Denver. The new official Titan will mount a naval grade 300mm MAC and systems sufficient for the mech to engage aerial warships anti-arcology warfare. A conventional offshoot of the Titan will swap the massive artillery piece for three smaller 175mm MACs in a turret housing.