SPC-19 "Kneebreaker" Cannon
Designed in the early days of mech combat, the SPC-19 Cannon is a cheap, but surprisingly effective counter measure against the agile battle suits.
As mechs began to sweep the battlefield, defeating older generations of hardware with their incredible agility and versatility, many factions struggled to deploy countermeasures, especially those still playing catch-up in the development of humanoid armor systems. Many of these focused around further development to older generations of armor, the venerable tank, in all its forms.
Cheaper and able to bear heavier armor than the mech, many saw avenues to fight back with the older technology, despite the maneuverability and offensive deficits.
One such vehicle, fielded by the Hierarchy of Nauq in the early 2320s in its struggles against the mechs of the Marnak Republic was the SPC-19. Developed on a compressed schedule, on a war-time footing, the SPC-19 was designed for a specific purpose, rather than general combat duties, and it was also determined that certain flaws could be tolerated. Mostly, there was no time to fix them.
The silhouette of the SPC-19 is a sloping, curved one, its sparse armor carefully designed to present few flat surfaces to the enemy, deflecting attacks away rather than absorbing them whenever possible. Later generations are highly reflective in the ultraviolet portions of the spectrum, lending further defense against the high energy lasers of the battle field. Yet, this slope is broken by a single, forward placed long barrel, and the rear is dominated by tremendous radiators, an obvious weak point in the armor.
A Self Propelled Cannon, rather than a true tank, the SPC-19 is essentially an enormous, heavily armored gun that can be driven around the battle field by its three man crew. That gun, the protruding barrel nearly 10 meters in length, is a simply designed rail gun, with a 185 mm bore diameter. Ammunition can be either a solid slug of hardened steel, rarely used, or more commonly, a 'wad' of armor piercing rods, about the length of a human hand, twice as thick as a finger, made of tungsten alloy, and packaged in a steel breakaway container, very similar to a shotgun. With the massive gun capable of launching those armor piercers at velocities of well over 100 km/s, the SPC-19 is able to turn even the hardest of targets into sponges.
With only approximately twenty degrees of elevation available to the gun, due to the geometry of the design, with one end rooted deep within the vehicle, the SPC is only able to reach the vitals of distant mecha. When employed in closer combat, however, another target is close at hand. Or perhaps, close to foot, for many war machines have found themselves with amputated legs from the crews of the SPC, earning it the nickname 'Kneebreaker.'
However, despite the resounding effectiveness of the SPC, many armor crews dreaded drawing the assignment. While the light armor of the SPC would have provided adequate protection in previous eras, it proved wholly unable to survive the onslaught of the new energy weapon systems. Further, the SPC was slow, despite its miniaturized fusion plant, the majority of output from the generators going not to operation of the undersized motor, but to charging the triple bank of capacitors required to fire the main gun. More, this bank of capacitors generated tremendous heat, requiring a significant cryogenic cooling system to operate - and a way to dump the heat to outside, necessitating a complex and large radiator system, dangerously exposed, despite the armored grill work.
The gun itself also suffered its flaws. Tremendous recoil met with the metallurgical flaws of factory worlds under siege, more than a few of the light vehicles tearing themselves to shreds by firing the main cannon, as metal fatigue set in. So too were the rails of the main cannon prone to buckling, jamming and even destroying the weapon, if not the entire tank itself. Finally, the SPC suffered from rate-of-fire issues, able to rapidly discharge three shots from the main cannon, before the long charging cycle was required. Later models would mount secondary weapons on pintles for defense against troopers armed with shaped charges, but these were only rarely put to use. As commanders became more skilled at the use of the weapon, the tank saw little direct combat, being used to ambush at mechs and opposing tanks from heavy cover, running up its kill count despite its vulnerabilities.
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? Responses (14)-14
Excellent detail; I could really envision how this puppy might look and handle. You included some very realistic stats and drawbacks; painting a clear picture of ideal situations wherin this gun can be utilized, as well as situations where its usefullness would be greatly reduced.
Where can I get me one?
A logical development, though the 3-man crew seems a bit high. Is the cannon manually loaded?
With it's vulnerabilites, I could see making these things remote control as a definate option.
One tactic which was even in WWII with the limited self-propelled weapons of that era was the use of simple ramps prepared by combat engineers to increase the elevation of weapons.
But yeah, as a slow direct-fire weapon, they are a good defensive unit. Dug in properly - earth will stop energy weapons as well as kinetic ones, they could have their usefulness extended even further.
I like these kind of singular-purpose mechs, that serve basically only one purpose. This one is made to blast mechs from a distance and not do much else. It's very practical for the battlefield. I'm a fan.
3 man crew, Commander, Driver, and Gunner, seems pretty good to me.
I like this puppy, and love the tungsten rod rounds too. Nasty nasty
Whee. The rods, actually, are a derivative of real weapons systems - modern kinetic penetration systems generally rely on a single, long, dense rod, or many short rods packed such as to strike the same place in rapid succession. These puppies, however, are designed to impact at a much higher energy due to velocity, and seek out the weaknesses in jointed armor. Much like shooting at a man in plate mail with a shotgun, you're going to find the weak point eventually. Plus, getting hit probably sounds like God himself just sent the entire heavenly choir to play the drums on you.
Useful in any RPG with tanks in it.
I like :D
Btw., the Swedish had tanks in their army which had a similar cannon, and could dig themselves in, exposing some 30 cm of hull above the ground. Fun stuff!
The good old S-Tank, right?
Hey one question,
Who were the Swedes shooting at? Or did they just bury their tanks to put one over on the Finns.
I loved battletech. This sounds alot like the Hetzer Wheeled Assault Gun with fusion engine and gauss rifle instead of an autocannon 20 and an ICE. That isn't a complaint. I thought it was well written and I liked the bit about the UV armor.
I always enjoyed putting a lance of Hetzers into a battlemap when my gaming group allowed vehicles. Makes those mechboys nervous, close in shots automatically hit the legs, and a few of the mechs then were slim on the leg armor. A good hit from a Hetzer could put a mech twice it's size on the ground
I sent in a lance of Saladin hover tanks one time to flank my PCs mechs. Same concept but a full speed of 12. I told them they need to spread their mechs out. I think we called it a night after that.
Basically, anything that allows you to concentrate fire to a single location in BattleTech is a good thing (and you have to tear off only one leg to make a 'Mech a cripple).