SCIV Land Shark or Blue-Shark
Background: During the third succession war the House Kurita violently, and in full view of the public, suppressed dissents using regular combat brigades. These tactics, while effective at inspiring fear in rebel minded populations had several long-term consequences that the current Kurita regime wishes to avoid. First it required the use of line regiments that could effectively be used in border regions in defense of military or industrial installations. Instead the Kurita military stationed units at internally political hot spots often a great distance from areas contested by foreign powers. Second, it was demoralizing to the troops tasked with putting down local rebellions. Defeating a local rebellion was often a hollow victory associated with a great deal of collateral damage. Third, with only a few notable exceptions, all rebellions that required intervention occurred in major population centers and were carried out by members of the professional or educated classes. Despite the propaganda snaked through its military by the House Kurita, these rebels were not masses of ignorant peasants. The peasant rebellion is something lost to history; modern rebellions are carried by those who got a whiff of social mobility. Thus, the use of lethal force against the insurgencies reduced the availability of skilled and educated laborers. The SCIV was designed to address those issues.
Capabilities: The appearance of the SCIV has earned it the nick name the shark. Often the tank is painted blue by local governments because it is believed the color is calming. The tank’s high and wide suspension makes it appear that its body is riding between its four large wheels instead on them. The armor plates are positioned at angles to deflect impact and explosions. The profile of the tank narrows at the front, giving it a nautical looking nose. The turret is positioned forward, roughly a third of the way back from the front of the tank. The turret mounts two audio generators (speakers). The sound generators are semi-circles which when pointed to the tanks side give the profile the appearance of a fin. The rear of the tank is bulkier than front, and contains a passenger compartment. This personal compartment is accessible from the back, and does not allow passage to the crew cabin. The door to the passenger compartment also pulls double duty as an entry ramp.
The SCIV’s primary armament is two turret mounted audio generators (total weight 1 ton), which produce a crippling cone of sound capable of incapacitating large numbers people or mammals within 500 meters. The tank is wheeled to reduce damage to civic roads, and has a high suspension with a convex armored undercarriage to reduce damage from mines and IEDs. In addition to the crew cabin there is the personnel compartment located in the rear of the vehicle. The rear compartment was designed to be multi-purpose. It can carry either a squad of infantry, a dozen or so detainees, or it can be converted into a 2-3 man medical or communications suite.
The SCIV is one of the mostly heavily armored tanks of its size, so it can endure a great deal of punishment when entering occupied areas. Because of its electric motor the tank is quiet and has an extremely small electro-magnetic signature. Indeed most inner sphere sensor systems are calibrated to ignore EM signatures as faint as that produced by the SCIV.
Designed to work with populace suppression systems such a tear gas, Q-fever and aerosolized morphine, the SCIV’s crew cabin and personnel compartment were designed to be airtight. Upon sealing the cabin air can be moved into the cabin from a forward vent, which passes the outside air through an electrostatic filter, or the crew can carry individual respirators. The wheel rim of the SCIV is the standard industrial diameter. Thus the SCIV can easily be fitted with commonly available tires. Road tread increases speed and energy efficiency, off road tires or armored wheels are available for more conventional combat settings.
Armament: The audio generator system can be used continuously for three-six hours with the SCIVs original power source. If connected to an additional power source the audio generators can be used indefinitely. The SCIVs original configuration complements the audio generator with twin forward mounted AA-22 fully automatic recoilless shotguns (Carthage Ballistics). The AA-22 can fire anti-personal pellet rounds, rubber bullets or low velocity bag rounds making it an ideal antipersonnel weapon. The AA-22s gun-mount provides the forward gunner with a 140 degree firing arc capable of a 15-degree adjustment in the z-plane. The AA-22’s gun-well is also designed to fit Carthage Ballistic’s 22mm recoilless heavy machine gun. For when slightly more punch is needed, the main turret also contains a Twin Shot (Bushido Co.) short-range anti-vehicle missile launcher. The standard SCIV only carries enough ammo in the automatic loader for two volleys.
Engine/Power plant: The SCIV is unique among combat vehicles employed at present in that it is entirely electric. The SCIV’s battery, located in the central body between the crew cabin and personal compartment is an aerospace grade lithium cell. When fully charged it can power the SCIV in full combat operations for roughly 3hrs. When employing minimal power, sentry mode, the battery can retain combat readiness for up to 18hrs hours.
Speed: Max speed 65 KPH (90 with road tread tires on paved roads)
Limitations: The limitations of the SCIV are all by design. For a wheeled tank of its size the SCIV is incredibly slow with a Max speed of less than 70 KPH over uneven terrain and its wheel configuration limits the terrain it can transverse. The batteries of SCIV take 9 hours to charge completely and 2 hours to replace (armor most be removed and refitted in order to access the batteries). Taking charging time into account the SCIV could be fully active (full speed and constant weapon use) for no more than 6 hrs a day. For this reason and others the SCIV will never be a tank of the line.
Combat history: The combat history of the SCIV is a study in serendipity. The planet New Lebanon 4 was an important water rich and industrialized world within the Draconis Combine. The main city on the planet, Cedar Bay, was the center of the planets petrochemical industry, the main spaceport on the planet, and home to two large civilian universities. Following the successful petition of the Free Raselague Republic for independence from the Combine the House Kuritia made concerted effort to head off any other dissenting groups from attempting to undermine the House’s authority. With this in mind central command assigned two-dozen SCIVs to the military Commander of New Lebanon, Garrison-Marshall Masaharu Homma. Homma a former armor officer himself turned out to the perfect man to utilize the SCIV.
During the student riots following the closing of the Cedar Bay Institute of Natural History, the police chief of Cedar Bay Shizuo Yokoyama chose to contain, rather than quell, the riots using standard police barricades reinforced with Scorpion Light tanks. When Princess Omi and a handful of elite mech warriors disappeared in the city following assassination attempt at a state dinner, Homma himself took command of the riot control efforts in Cedar Bay. Using the SCIVs in shifts to support locale militiamen from surrounding agricultural regions Homma was able to subdue the rioters. As Homma had suspected Omi and the mech warriors soldiers had survived the assassination attempt and escaped into the city, but were unable to make contact because of the riots.
During the clan invasion Homma also employed the SCIV tanks during the battle of Cedar Bay. A company of Battle Mechs were assigned to stay behind in the city and fight a delaying action against the clan forces advancing from the North while Homma retreated all other essential military personal and hardware south. The company of Mechs only support were the SCIVs and their crews. Clan infantry employs an exoskeleton battle armor, which makes them difficult for Battle Mechs to negotiate at close range. The SCIVs sound weapon turned out be just as effective against clan infantry and as it was against inner sphere infantry. Thus with support of the SCIVs the company of mechs defending Cedar Bay were able to effectively neutralize the Clan’s infantry.
Homma was able to employ the SCIV a third time before the entire system of New Lebanon fell to the invading clans. Upon losing the battle of the Petra Glacier, the battle of Cedar Bay and losing 4 regiments of armor during his counter attack on Cedar Bay Homma moved the remainder of his forces onto drop ships and sent them space side. The retreating Kurita forces rendezvoused at New Lebanon 8-17. 8-17 was a moon that supported a low gravity dock for repairing FTL ships. The clan had either missed or ignored this base when they attacked the system. The problem was that Homma did not have enough functional FTL ships to take all his dropships out of the system. He commandeered two privately owned FTL ships under going repairs at 8-17 and order them cannibalized for parts to repair the ancient FTL capable warship Fukuoka which had been mothballed at 8-17 for a century. Again the remainder of his mech force was told to fight delaying actions on the moons surface. All of Hommas additional forces were conventional armor, which employed I.C.E. power plants that would not operate in a low oxygen environment. So again the SCIVs were sent into battle. Striping out the sound weapons to make room for additional short-range missile rounds, and replacing the AA-22s with a small laser the SCIVs were as ready as the Kurita engineers could make them. Too slow and weekly armed to make a real offensive difference the SCIVs were employed as scouts, sentries and damage sponges.
Of note is that the commander of the SCIV force during the Cedar Bay riots, 1st battle of Cedar Bay and the battle 8-17 was technically a civilian. Police Sgt. Osra Nehemai commanded a single SCIV during the riots and it was her SCIV that was contacted by Princess Omis group. Contact with her SCIV was lost outside the crater BH97 during the battle of 8-17. Her last transmission stated that she was engaged by five Clan mechs.
I first employed a version of this tank in a Shadowrun game. We had new player that night who was playing a not so thinly veiled cyborg version of Vin Diesel. (He named his character Riddick. He assured me he had his own character in mind.) Our game had been one of subtle heist planning and detective work, and our HRs regarding combat were particularly lethal. This new-Riddick would have none of that and proceeded to lead the whole party into a middle of the street fire fight (J.J. if you are reading this just remember how my Fascist Captain ruined your Star Trek campaign and you will see the full karma of things) Rather than kill the whole party I used the sonic tank to sub-due them, and then had the police toss new-Riddick (he had escaped from prison, go figure) in the back. This tank allows for a fairly neutral plot device for putting a clamp on over the top combat.
Home guard: In one game I had sappers enter the camp around the mech warrior’s drop ship and damage it. Ever since then they refused to go anywhere without support units. This tank makes a nice support unit. It can’t stray far from the base camp, it doesn’t have enough mobility to let the players do really weird stuff with it, and it has effective anti-infantry weapons
Civilian Wrangling. One of the problems you run into in Battletech is how do the mech warriors deal with civilians or captured infantry. Yeah they can just machine gun them or they can fight them with their infantry, but that gets complicated. The SCIV could help clean those issues up quickly so the players can get back to blowing up giant robots.