Mallet Artillery Track

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Tactical Analysis

Background

A product of Mexican arms factories, the M101 "Mallet" Artillery Track combines a 240mm howitzer with a sturdy, wide chassis to create one of the most devastating conventional mobile artillery pieces ever developed. When it was developed in 1948, it was originally intended to be accompanied by ammunition carriers, freeing the chassis to carry merely the gun and its five man crew; however, the Comintern's Stavka changed the requirements during development, requiring the weapon to carry a large number of rounds with it. The extra weight and space requirements increased the weight above the original target, leaving the loaded road speed of the Mallet a pathetic 32 kph...under absolutely ideal conditions, and when off road could often slow down to a fraction that on bad terrain.

At first, the Mallet was unpopular with its crews, so much so that the title became associated with military command's incompetence in both military circles and civilian media. In addition to the extremely slow speed and rather thin armour, it had a painfully slow turning speed, it could only carry 16 rounds that would be burnt through very quickly by the autoloader without an ammunition carrier to provide it extra rounds, and most damning of all, the design of the vehicle at the time required an open topped vehicle which left the crew vulnerable to counterbattery fire and air attack. And while the nearly nine and a half inch wide shell was truly awe inspiring in terms of firepower; it could not match the V2's destruction per missile. Similarly, the Thunderer Gun Carriage's twin 234mms could maintain a superior rate of fire.

However, while civilian scorn remained, all complaints among military personnel vanished the moment the M101 howitzer fired its first shot. The 240mm howitzer earned a fierce reputation as one of the strongest artillery weapon of the war, capable of destroying structures, crushing bunkers, destroying tanks and basically any other destructive feat imaginable. Batteries of M101s would flatten entire tank divisions from beyond visual range, and the reload times of the howitzer put the Alliance V2 launchers to shame and was significantly less complicated and longer ranged than the twin 234mm gun equipped Thunderer gun carrier. A single 240mm shell could devastate any tank within twelve meters of the impact and would be even more devastating to softer targets like infantry who were often said to "evaporate" when struck by "Mexico's hammer".

As the Comintern began to advance, they began to encounter Alliance "SAM Sites", hardened underground complexes that were practically immune to conventional attack. To counter this, a new "super shell" was developed for the M101, using an experimental high-yield charge to breach these structures and destroy their interiors. These would also be tremendously useful against the Alliance's submarine pens, which were tremendously resistant to most forms of bombing, but with the 240mm superheavy penetration round; could be punctured and reduced to a state that would no longer allow the Alliance to hide its submarines within them; making it impossible to use them in a short ranged capacity.

The numbers built by the Comintern were well into the hundreds of thousands, and after the second world war, they continued production even as perhaps more modern and sophisticated artillery systems arrived to the ranks of the Comintern's international military. Indeed there were enough to be donated to other armies so as to spread the gift of extreme firepower to the friends and allies of the communist international, with the Revolutionary Vanguard being a frequent benefactor. The Vanguard tends to use Mallets rather late into a battle or rather sparingly, as their slow speed makes them unsuited for hit and run warfare, but when it fires; everyone will know its words as it strikes them into oblivion with consistent, powerful shots.