Purpose:

The F-44 was built from the ground up as a stable combat platform to combat the mecha advantage of the Atlantic Federation and Pacific Rim Coalition, as well as projecting mecha force north to the border with the Eurasian Alliance. The Shunjun was given the unusual four legged walker design, allowing the machine to be more stable, and easier to control, as well as being able to mount heavier armor, more weaponry, and house the less efficient and less powerful powerplants available to the ACPS.

Basic Abilities:

The F-44 is a 160 ton quad mech, notable for the large turret mounted on top of the body. The turret mounts a single massive 203mm naval cannon, and utilizes a hybrid firing system. The barrel has a linear rail to accelerate the projectiles, but the rounds also have chemical propellant, giving the cannon accurate short range firepower, and enhanced long range potential. The F-44B replaces the chem-jet cannon with a high energy heavy particle cannon, and the borderline ridiculous F-44H has a 480mm rocket propelled mortar in the turret. These are enormously powerful weapons, but this is seen as a requirement as the mecha facing the Shunjun have better armor, better weaponry, and better mobility. The only answer to this is overwhelming firepower and a greater ability to soak damage.

The quad configuration and turret leave room for the body to mount three 'decks'. One on each side and one to the rear. These have armored walls and positions for infantry, specifically Chinese power armor, to ride and shoot their weapons from elevated position. This allows each Shunjun to act like a walking tower, throwing down a hail of small and medium arms fire backed by the huge cannon. The ACPS uses Shunjun in infantry suppression, riot control, and morale improvement. Taking a note from attack helicopters, the F-44 has wings mounted on the hull and hardpoints. Most of the time, they carry large diameter rocket pods capable of dealing artillery damage. The F-44 is a giant sledge hammer, and the ACPS likes to swing them.

Hurdles:

The F-44 had a long production process and it was plagued by serious problems. The largest were creating a powerplant large enough to power the machine and remain stable. The F-30 series of walkers were so routinely underpowered that the engines would burn out trying to reach basic performance demands. The second major hurdle involved the electronics systems and communications gear, all of which were reverse engineered from stolen tech. The F-39 and F-40 walkers finally broke out of this problem by discarding the reverse engineered gear and replaced with equipment that was sourced from Chinese tech firms.

Early Production:

The first incarnations of the F-44 did well enough, and proved the design was viable. There were problems with leg actuators and foot pedals collapsing under the mass of the machine.

Performance in the fields of Southeast Asia, and along the Mongolian border proved that the Shunjun was a force to be reckoned with, and the First two runs of the machine were designated F-44X and F-44Y. After the factory lines were retooled with basic feedback, the F-44A was put into serious production. It had a smaller six inch artillery cannon, no infantry support decks, and sponsoon mounted gatling guns. The F-44B saw the major upgrades, as the different elements had grown from different theaters. The SE Asian campaigns saw the field additions of decks, while the Indian frontier dropped the sponsoons for the rocket pods on the welded on wings.

The increased firepower in the main turret came directly from the August Personage of Jade, because the 6 inch cannon was deemed to be insufficient.

Variants:

F-44T - trainer model. It has dramatically reduced armor and minimal weaponry, but rather than the normal crew of five, the 44T can carry a crew of twenty.

F-44R and F-44S - rescue variant, and the weaponry are replaced with rescue ladders, water cannons, and similar equipment.

F-44G - replaces the weaponry with a mobile command center, improved communication gear, and a helipad for VTOLs to land and launch from.

F-44Z - no infantry decks, heavier armor, and the main cannon is equipped with atomic shells.

Maintenance and Support

The F-44 has proven itself to be reliable, if only through the use of lowest common denominator parts and technology. No new paths were blazed in it's construction, no new techniques were pioneered, and none of it's components are more than regularly available or solid state. The massive armor allows the machines to stay in the field, and the low overland speed does little to stress the chassis. When they are damaged, repairs are straight forward and easy. Often several smashed Shunjuns can be cobbled together to put combat machines back in the field in a quick manner.

The weak point of the walker are the legs, and knowing this, the hip joints are remarkably easy to detach. As long as there is a replacement, a new leg can be attached in a matter of an hour or less with a good crew. The same applies to the torso turret, allowing for rapid weapon swaps in combat situations.

More than one encounter has turned because second line Shunjun walkers had a turret swap after the initial engagement, allowing them to appear with firepower better suited to the mission.

Service Record

Overall - mediocre.

There are no Shunjun aces, and the most successful uses of the machine are in riot and crowd control situations, and engaging in combat with light vehicles and infantry forces, the sort of fights people don't brag about winning. In toe to toe fights with other mecha, the lower mobility of the Shunjun becomes more obvious, and most crews know that it is a gamble, which will run out first, their armor, or their opponents luck.

Crew Rating - low

Shunjun's are not popular among crews, and it takes five to man a regular model. Commander, political commissar, pilot, main gunner, and engineer. Conditions are cramped, life support is minimal, and tensions can run high where an injured officer might decide that shooting the crew is preferable to allowing a non-supervised crew to continue operating an ACPS heavy war walker.

MVP time - The Battle of Seoul

The Shunjun's moment to shine was the ACPS land invasion of the Korean peninsula, a stronghold of the Pacific Rim Coalition. A large contingent of Shunjun walkers, supported by ample armor, infantry, and mobile artillery were able to push back the technologically superior Korean forces, and their Nipponese allies. Despite the use of wonder weapons and beam artillery against them, the Shunjun lines held, and destroyed holding effort after holding effort. The quick repair time on the machines and the ability to bring even primitive naval grade artillery to the battlefield was able to turn the tide. The greatest act of propaganda involved combat journalists recording Shunjun's wading into the Korean Straight and firing their main guns at escaping Korean and Nipponese forces, some even missing legs and showing serious damage but still operational.

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