SuperFortress 01, a wonderweapon created during the last days of the Deuterion Star Empire, a rolling fortress capable of surviving a frontal assault from a heavy mech brigade, capable of destroying armor divisions, capable of defending itself from space borne attacks if need be. Thankfully, only one such terror was completed, though some are worried about its official numbering of 01. What if they built more than one of these monsters?
SuperFortress-01 has a very simply appearance, a golf ball sitting on two sets of tandem tank treads. Of course, the diamater of the sphere is roughly 100 meters, and the four sets of treads are spreading the monsterous 12,000 ton weight of the SuperFortress across as wide an area of possible. The treads do an impressive job of effectively distributing this weight. The SF-01 is able to cross almost any non-mountainous terrain. The hull of the mobile fortress is studded with large weapons turrets, barrels, and blisters, and a smaller command sphere sits atop the main sphere. This secondary sphere houses satellite uplink equipment as well as long range scanning and detection systems. On the SF-01, the sphere is painted with the likeness of a leering green eyeball.
Weapons and Armor
The main firepower of the SF-01 comes from six naval grade partical projector cannons miniaturized to fit in its smaller hull. Four have fixed firing arcs, front and rear and one in each side. Two more naval particle cannons sit in a rotating ring in the upper section of the main hull. While not horribly accurate, these weapons can atomize even the most robust fortified positions with a few hits or near misses. The weapons are also highly effective for deterring massed attacks. Few tanks or mechs can survive even a near miss from these massively powerful weapons. The cannons do have a pair of weaknesses. Their rate of fire is limited by the power output of the main reactor, and its six auxilliary reactors. The maximum rate of fire is one shot every minute by power constraints. This level of fire cannot be maintained over a long period as the weapons generate massive amounts of waste heat. Cycling through the weapons can alleviate some of these weaknesses, as can partially submerging the SuperFortress in a river or shallow lake.
Secondary weaponry of the SuperFortress is equally impressive and at times, more devastating. The fortress mounts standard sized partical cannons in dual mounts, and medium grade lasers in quad mounts around the hull of the vehicle. These weapons are manned by gun crews and have their own secondary power and cooling systems seperate from the main power and weapons loop. The crew manning these guns would have been selected from the best marksmen of the old star empire. Vehicles and tanks scattered by the main gun would have to advance into the range of these guns to bring their own weapons to bear. Without massed volleys, the enemy units would be easily picked apart by the weapons.
The SuperFortress also mounts no fewer than eight massive swarm missile launchers in the upper hull. Each launcher can fire a salvo of twenty independent tracking missiles. These walls of missiles are primarily intended to deter approach by enemy fighter or bomber aircraft, or to engage enemies that are in the middle range between the naval grade guns and the secondary weapons. The SuperFortress literally vanishes in a cloud of white smoke when it fires all 160 missiles that it can fire in one massive barrage.
Point Defense was considered a weakness of the Superfortress until it was discovered that the monsterous machine has 80 machine guns mounted in dual configuration around the perimeter of the vehicle. These guns are auto-aimed and fired normally. In times of potential close attack, the guns can be taken over by direct control, and fired by human gunners. The most devious of the gun emplacements was found in the forward drive sprockets of the tandem tank treads. Each of the sprockets concealed a pair of these linked machine guns.
The Armor of the SuperFortress is impressive by any standard. Investigators compare it favorably to armor mounted by space faring warships. The armor shell can shrug of medium and small conventional weapons without a second thought, only the largest and most robust autocannons and particle cannons can even scratch it. This armor protection comes at an expensive price, besides the actual cost of so much armor, weight. The armor is second in mass only to the fusion reactor that powers the SuperFortress.
Similated attacks on SF-01 have shown that there is a 99% chance of failure by any attacking force of less than division strength, regardless of basic equipment or level of skill. Losses calculate near 80% for the attacker in these scenarios. It is worth noting that in all of the simulations the SF-01 is static, and operating without any sort of support. Elimination of the SF-01 is possible, but requires the utilization of supporting artillery strikes, air attacks and if possible attack from orbital and sub-orbital craft. In Scenario 14A, the SF-01 disabled two sub-orbital dropships providing supporting fire and destroyed a third along with 71% of the attacking ground force before being eliminated.
The SF-01 has a number of weaknesses. Its massive size limits the terrain it can cross. While demonstrating full amphibious capability, it can become bogged down in a sufficiently soft swamp terrain. This is conjecture as the SF-01 has not been moved beyond nominal terrain. It is also limited to relatively flat terrain. Boulders and smaller rough terrain are easily crushed, but even low mountains can provide an ample barrier.
Colonel Bigsby has proposed that a determined SF-01 commander could use the forward particle cannons to literally blast a path through any barrier provided enough time. Tests of the main batteries for terrain demolition have been unanymously declined by operations.
The sheer size of the SF-01 also means that it is a relatively easy target to hit, be it by a ground based mech or tank, or by a warship in low planetary orbit. The weapons array of the SF-01 gives it the ability to return fire on said warship, which given the targeting capacity of the SF-01 computers, would be an equally easy shot. The final weakness from its size is that its top speed is considered achingly slow. At full forward power, the SF-01 has a flanking speed of 18 miles per hour.
How the Star Empire intended to deploy the SF-01 is still somewhat of a mystery. There are few dropships capable of planetary landing with the cargo capacity to lift such a monster, and few of them have that space in a single bay. There is evidence that the SF-01 was intended to have its own FTL Jump engine. How the rolling fortress would deploy this device on the surface of a planet is still a mystery that causes no shortage of headaches for scientists and fuel for frothing at the mouth generals who want this capability and luddites who oppose it for the exact same reason. It is believed that this jump technology did work, as there are no facilities located on the planet where the SF-01 was found capable of building it. Conventional theory holds that the parts were carried by basic transports and the SF-01 was assembled on the planet away from public view.
The SuperFortress-01 is a pinnacle of space engineerings, it is a FTL capable vessel complete with radiation shielding, air recirculation systems and a once functional jump drive. It is more akin to a spaceship with tank treads than a tank. The calculations required to jump from one planetary gravity well to another are staggering even compared to the basic calculations to jump from one empty space to another. The side effects of this travel made it highly impractical. The effect of so much volume vanishing caused minor earthquakes and a deafening thunderclap at the point of departure. At the arrival point the sudden appearance of the SuperFortress and a good deal of air and ground underneath it was devastating. The shock of arrival damaged the jump engines, reset the fusion core and killed half of the crew. Outside the SuperFortress, a massive shockwave caused damage for several miles around the arrival site. While entirely feasible, planet to planet FTL was scrapped as too dangerous and impractical. The real reason the SF-01 arrived on a largely ignored backwater world was that there was concern that a cascading resonance reaction might destabilize the destination planet. The SuperFortress arrived, the planet recieved a new cosmetic crater and a few dozen square miles of devastated forest, and the Empire lost about 2,000 technicians, engineers, and a massively expensive prototype jump engine. The project was canceled and forgotten.
Long live the Technodrome!!!