Steam Tank

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A Steam Tank in action

Steam Tanks are powerful war machines used by the armies of the Empire. [1a]

History

They were created by the College of Engineers, designed by its founder the famed genius Tilean inventor Leonardo of Miragliano. [1a][5]

After the failure of his steam-powered Anchor of Solidity and his near drowning, Leonardo transfered his ambitions to to land based machines. He would vanish with his work unfinished, his sketches and designs lost with him although various versions of these have been found over the year - they are usually fakes. [5a]

Following the inventor's death, the secrets of the Steam Tanks were lost with him and engineers have so far been unable to successfully construct any new ones. Only twelve tanks were built, all with varying configurations. Only eight Steam Tanks remain, the lost four having been destroyed during testing or in battle. [3a][4]

A promising reproduction was created by engineers in Nuln in 2499 IC, but the school and their Steam Tank prototype were razed to the ground under suspicious circumstances. [2a]

In the early 2500s, Reiksmarshal Kurt Helborg commanded that all Steam Tanks adopt the same weapons as the Conqueror within five years. [2a]

Lost Tanks

Some of the four lost Steam Tanks were captured by enemies of the empire like the Skaven, who transformed one of the tanks into a fiendish wyrdstone powered Rat Tank. Another, very odd tank was reconfigured by the Halflings of Mootland, who named it Soup Tank "Kathleen" and utilized it against the forces of Marius Leitdorf, the Elector Count of Averland during an infamous rebellion.

Mechanism

A Steam Tank is powered by a pressurized boiler that siphons steam through pipes and pistons which drive the wheels. During battle the tank is commanded and driven by a Senior Engineer who manages and directs the steam from the boiler to the tank's mechanisms. Should too much pressure be allowed to build in the boiler, it may rupture with catastrophic effects. The commander must rely on his experience in interpreting the various noises to judge the pressure and avoid a explosion as he uses it to move his vehicle. [1a]

Originally the engineer had to gauge the pressure level by the sounds and steam escaping which was difficult and dangerous with many tank commanders suffering burns and scalds. The Engineers of Altdorf later developed guages and whistles to show the boiler pressure but they are still not highly accurate. [5a]

The best way of disabling or destroying a Steam Tank is by cannon fire, although the Steam Tank has been known to shrug off even that.

The war engines are somewhat unreliable, and only rarely can all eight be persuaded to run for a single battle.[1a][3a]

Variants

Over the years, the tanks were damaged and rebuilt with the Imperial School of Engineers using the tanks as a base to use experimental weapon configurations. These include: [5a]

  • Implacable: Armed with a shell-lobbing mortar. [5a]
  • Old Reliable: Armed with a hull-mounted, steam-operated Helblaster Volley Gun and a turret-mounted Steam Gun. [5]
  • Sigmar's Hammer: No armaments, instead the Tank was used as a battering ram due to ammunition shortage.[2a]
  • Von Zeppel A variant named after the designing engineer, but with no hull-mounted armaments, instead carries a platform, [2a] cramped with engineers carrying experimental weapons like the Hochland long rifle, a blunderbuss, a Repeater Handgun, a special form of halberd, a massive morningstar (referred to as "ball & chain"), and a Mancatcher. [5a]

Weapons and Equipment

The thick steel armor plating of a Steam Tank makes it all but immune to lesser weapons such as arrows and crossbow bolts.[1a]

The most common steam tank variant is armed with a steam powered cannon in its hull and a steam gun mounted in its turret. Though the steam cannon is smaller than the cannons of the Imperial Gunnery School the maneuverability and protection of the steam tank more than compensates for the main cannons comparatively short range and diminished power. A conventional cannon would be impossible to use in the tank [1a] as the gun could not re-loaded from within. [3b]

The turret mounted Steam Gun is used when enemies are close to the tank, as the weapon's very nature makes it very short-ranged. The Steam Gun shoots a cloud of searing hot steam upon anyone stupid or unlucky enough to be standing near. As can be surmised, armor of all kinds grants little more than a searing trap against this peculiar weapon.[1a]

The Engineer driving the tank is usually armed with a repeater pistol as a means of self-defence should the situation become dire enough. It may also be used as a deterrent against charging enemies, as the Engineer fires upon the attacking troops from the turrets hatch and retreats to the safety of the tank's armored hull. [1a][3c]

  • 6th Edition: Conqueror: Cannon (hull), Steam Gun (Turret). Commander has a Repeater Pistol. [5b] May replace Cannon with Volley Gun or Mortar. Instead of Cannon and Turret may have Fighting Platform with Trainee Engineers armed with various experimental weapons: Ball and Chain, Blunderbuss, Hochland Long Rifle, Hook Halberd, Man Catcher, Repeater Handgun. [5c]
  • W:TOW: Steam Cannon, Steam gun. Engineer Commander: Hand Weapon. Engineer Commander may have Hochland Long Rifle, Pigoen Bombs, Repeater Pistol. [4]

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