The Landmaster is a venerable war machine, based off a militarized version of the Long Combination Vehicle, or land train. The Landmasters, manufactured by North American Industrial Consolidated (NAIC) predate the founding of the modern world governments, and the design of the vehicle itself dates back to the late Petroleum Era. The first generation Landmaster was designed with the intent of being a Logistic-Assault vehicle, an armored tank-train that could go where it needed to and fight its way through if need be, to deliver its cargo, whatever it was. The D5 Squadron is equipped with six Landmaster Mk IXs. These vehicles are all between a 120 and 150 years old, and despite this age, they are still in solid working shape.The Mark IX Landmaster
The Mark Nine Landmaster was the last generation of LCV built by NAIC, and rather than the pinnacle of the design, they were intended to be stalwarts and to last as long as possible. Technology was radically changing at the time, and battlemechs were coming into their own, and the 'Age of Giants' was rapidly coming to a close. Monstrous vehicles like the TOG and Cataphract were proving to be no longer invulnerable. Mecha were proving to be more than a match for them, and the proliferation of aerial warships were more mobile and more effective. The Landmaster was a child of this era, and they were used as support and logistic vehicles with the mega-tanks and mobile fortresses of the time.
It was known when the Mark 8s were showing their age that there would be a last gen of Landmasters, and after that there would be no more orders for the vehicle. How long it would take to put a replacement in service was up for debate, so the call was made. The Mark Nine would be simple and durable, easy to repair, and it would dump many of the redundant systems of the Eight. While they would be less effective in stand up fights, this would extend their service life considerably. The Nines were lighter, slightly faster, and swapped out the extensive electronics warfare and CIC capabilities of the Eights. These systems were already being ported over into sky frigates and destroyers, which were better equipped for the job.
For generations, the Republic of California employed the D-Force, the Defender Force, against the threats along the long and vague border it shares with the Rocky Mountain Republic and the Republic of Texas. This region is prone to banditry, outlawishness, vagrancy, and has a long history of insurgency. It has long been considered the radical remnant of the United States, and this is reflected in the large number of militia groups, survivalists, and extremist camps that were built through the region over the last three centuries.
At it's height, the Defender Force consisted of several dozen squadrons. The squadrons were composed of light combat vehicles, hover bike troops, and more resembled a para-military force. Each squadron had a support group of different variant and role Landmasters, including models that were mobile medical units, command centers, and whatever other support a unit could use at the time. As mecha forces and sky destroyers and frigates became more numerous, the number of D-Force squadrons decreased.
D5 is the last functional Defender Force Squad, and contrary to other squads, it is composed solely of Landmasters. These have remained in service due to their low cost, and their low tech makes them largely invulnerable to Amerikka Command cyberwarfare and hacking. The vehicles have no drive computers, no onboard L/AI systems, and none of the weapons are smart or computer linked.
Defender Force 5
Keegan is notable only for it's middle unit, a modernized version a US Army M-65 atomic howitzer. The M-265B is a long range howitzer that fires a nuclear round, generally a 20 kiloton charge. Keegan can deploy it's cannon in 12 minutes, fire at a range of 35 miles, and repack and move again in 10 minutes. It can forego the full deployment of stabilizers for the gun, but it is likely that firing the gun in such a fashion runs a very high chance of damaging the LCV, or flipping it on it's side. Either way, the vehicle is very likely going to be left out of commission after such a hasty action. The atomic rounds for Keegan have since been replaced with arcanotech warheads, though the actual payload is still classified.
Tanner is almost identical to Keegan, except for mounting the slightly different M-265A Atomic Howitzer. Tanner is the oldest vehicle in D5, and unlike the others, it has fired it's cannon in action. Tanner was part of a Reflex Action near the New Mexico border, responding to a classified DFE. The vehicle was damaged in the event, but fired thirteen non-nuclear hyperexplosive rounds into the event zone. These N2 warheads are estimated to have been in the 10 kiloton range. Tanner has also deployed in sorties against Amerikka Command, including base hunting, and is credited with a number of terrorist kills, including several ships and heavy vehicles.
Denton is a frankenstein of Landmaster parts and was assembled from the wreckage of several destroyed units. As such, it is in rough shape, is uncomfortable, and prone to breaking down. With this in mind, Denton is considered a 'one shot' weapon, and is designed to expend it's weapons in a very short amount of time, with the intent of being abandoned by it's crew. As such, Denton is armed with twelve heavy missiles. These large missiles are intended to bring down ships, bust bunkers, and otherwise make exceedingly large explosions with little warning. With this payload, the Landmaster can project a stupendous amount of force, one time, and then like a firecracker, it is spent.
Janice is an Infantry Assault LCV, and has a number of armored infantry cars, each with roof mounted heavy machine guns, as well as a 'caboose' that can detach and act as a semi-self propelled combat vehicle. It has several anti-material cannons, machine guns, and comm systems to let it run around and work with Janice and the rest of D5.
Haskins is also an infantry assault LCV, and has similar equipment, including it's own runabout caboose, known as Roller 1. Haskins is the newest of the Landmasters, and is in the best shape. For this reason it is generally used as the command vehicle for D5. Haskins has two fewer infantry cars compared to Janice, but adds a medical car, and a command car for logistics and planning operations.
Donner is, like Haskins and Janice, an infantry assault LCV, but it doesn't have a caboose, and it has two fewer infantry cars. Instead, Donner has a pair of 'Broadsides' combat cars which are not much more than armored gun batteries. Each of the cars mounts six heavy autocannons, three facing each side, along with an ammo supply for the guns. They are auto-loaded, but are aimed and fired by human (or droid) gun crews.
D5 and Damnation Alley
Damnation Alley is a swath of dimensional sheer that runs across the North American continent, and makes A-pod based travel tricky at best, and this has coincided with the location of many Amerikka Command strongholds, making enforcement of the border both important and difficult. Most ships that patrol the area tend to remain high, avoiding the sheer near the ground, and treaties with the Atlantic Federation have prevented the deployment of newer and heavier gear. As such, D5 is kept in a state of readiness as a 'Force in Reserve'. The Landmasters generally do not go on patrols or scouting missions, this is handed off to helocraft and dedicated scout vehicles.
When there is rumor of a potential insurgency, D5 and other assets can be moved into position, but D5 has the double advantage of being overlooked for being low tech, and despite their size and firepower, a Landmaster presents a relatively small cross section for being spotted. Most modern equipment has long since been calibrated for tracking mecha, and things that are obvious like sky ships. This gives D5 the ability to launch ambushes, and present themselves as deterrent in force.
The large amount of firepower that the squadron has is not without purpose. Amerikka Command has demonstrated a willingness to harness dimensional fatigue events to summon and gain control over exoterrestrial entities and to weaponize them against their enemies. So, in addition to psychotic veterans, criminals, skeletrons, retro-tech war machines, and arcanotech gadgets that border on alien tech, Amerikka Command can and has unleashed bug swarms, teratomorphs, infested mecha, and cosmic horrors. Nothing can ruin a Command offensive quite like their prize magnagog catching a 10 kiloton N2 round right in the skull.
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