Mattock Tank

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Tactical Analysis

  • Boss of the desert: In the Middle East where Scorpion tanks of GLA are rowing around, the Syrian Mattocks, despite being as old as their contemporaries in the region, are more than a match with them. Being a fast tank which Soviets used only in scouting and secondary roles, Socialists made it their main battle tank which can be swiftly produced, circle around their target and attack the weak spots with a modernized version of Soviet 76.2mm gun.
  • You have same way?: Along with the modernization, the crew was reduced from previous four to three (commander took the role of the loader), enabling them to carry two soldiers in accordance to Socialists' combined arms doctrine. These can help with the crew's work. As there are no fireports installed, they cant engage any enemies around the tank. However, the Mattock crew is authorized to carry some rifle ammunition boxes, which the infantry may take with them when disembarking, giving them some more potential damage output.
  • Glass cannon: The Mattock was made to meet some current standards with its modernized high-velocity gun to pound Allied, Syndicate or Emirate's armored vehicles, but the tank's armor, even increased and modernized, cant withstand too much shots from the main battle tanks, and either have to attack against them in large groups (with mind of large casualty rate) or use hit & run tactic, deliver damage and fall back.
  • Flames in desert? Hah!: Some of the experienced crews lamented that even with the assistance of Raider APCs the rebels armed with RPGLs were giving them headache large as Mount Hermon. Hearing their concerns, the War Council enabled them to modify their tanks however the crew deems necessary to increase their anti-infantry capability. While the variation of modifications is wide, the most common is, surprisingly, mounting on the front a flamethrower, controlled by the driver. There was made a space for as much of fuel tanks for the fire-breathing weapon as possible, and after few weeks later Ismail NAP started distributing a field modification kits for the experienced Mattock crews only.

Operational History

"I understand whey they named their tanks 'Mattocks'. They attacking your forces is just as painful as being struck by a real mattock in the back."

- Unknown GLA commander

After the triumph of socialist party in the elections of Syria and formation of the new Syrian government one of the first issues the new cabinet faced was its military. Being it a low-priority nation for the Allies, the Reservists had there in their stocks only the oldest weapons possible. American Beagle tanks, British Matilda infantry tanks and Revenant cruiser tanks, German Whippet half-tracks, even few captured Soviet vehicles from previous war which werent yet shipped off to UK or USA for analysis and study. The vehicles were in working order, but the Ministry of War doesnt wanted to keep them in active service because there was too wide array of vehicles with various unique parts which would require to dedicate most of their heavy industry just for the production of the spare parts than producing their own tanks and weapons. The Ministry of War and War Council reached an agreement that they needed to start making their owns, using the templates of the Union for their knowhow and easier production.

Among the first deals the Arabian Socialists and Soviets made counts two decades old T-40/76 Sokha medium tank. The Soviet officers, that were overseeing the negotiations, made fun of the Syrians about buying "puny little tank", but the Arabs dont paid it any attention. The rights to produce it and the blueprints were delivered to the newly-founded Ismail National Arms Plant, the work on the vast retrofit program of T-40 has began with the objective of "making it capable of engaging any modern tanks and survive". The 76.2mm main gun was modified with the technologies used in Rhino and Hammer tanks the Syria had access to from old Allied salvage garages, the dust filters for the engine compartment, new ventilation to the crew compartment and applying new technologies of armoring are among the many changes to the original tank, in effect making it a new vehicle. In April 1969 the development is finished and the production of the new tank of the Syria begins. For the Socialists, the tank was called simply Farid Tank, the Soviet requisition department (no matter they dont had it in their service) gave it a designation, that is known to the world, T-40S "Mattock" ("S" stands for Syrian).

The mass production of the tank has began and quickly it earned its place in the hearts of the tank crews for the tank's reliability, good speed and armor protection and great penetration of the gun. The Rhino Tanks which Syria had in its stocks from previous war serving as the command tanks of groups of Mattock Tanks, the War Council decided for a first campaign of the ASG and first step in its unification of the Arabian people under red banner. In June 1969 the War Council and the parliament voted to send its forces into Iraq and quell the free reign of the GLA in this region, following the example of the Iran. Mattock Tanks became the spearhead of the offensive, effectively catching the rebels off-guard when the speedy medium tanks rolled through the dunes and without much difficulties obliterated their Scorpions, taking them down before the Scorpions can even score a hit, and when they turned for the run, the Syrians could keep up with them long enough to finish them for good.

The Syrians quickly seized the western Iraq and slowed their progress when the direct control with Iran was established. For a while Mattock had no competition from the armor of the GLA, but than the rebels pulled out the tanks which evened the odds; Armadillo Tank and Marauder Tank Destroyer. The White Guard from Saudi Arabia send several of its units to Iraq to help the GLA on the new front, and Syrian tankers found their equals. With the portion of the country under their control, the Socialists now attempts to first stabilize the situation in this region, shifting from offensive to defensive, which put Mattocks into a delicate situation. GLA troops armed with anti-armor weaponry started harassing the Syrian positions, sometimes even with the help of Marauder Tanks and V2 rockets, at worst the Armadillo Tanks.

Although the Mattock Tank was a great tank in all fields, the War Council enabled the crews to start modifying their tanks to fill in the holes in its role. The variety of variants and modifications is too wide to be listed, but the most common are smaller machine gun turrets on the turret or machine guns placed for the infantry that may board the tank to man, some even dared to change it into double-barreled tank armed with 57mm guns like the Sokha Tank, one-shot missile launchers, rocket launchers to make it into a small artillery piece and a front-mounted flamethrower. The last became so wide spread among the crews that Ismail National Arms Plant started producing the field kit, and the Supply & Logistic Division started distributing this to the most experienced crews, who were skilled enough to handle the volatile flammable mixture with utmost care and caution, and required less space in the tank, so the fuel tanks could be fitted inside. The flamethrower became indeed quite a weapon against the rebels, cooking them in the already tropic deserts or buildings.

The Mattock Tank basically became a key element in the Iraqi War, being admired by the Soviet and Communist soldiers, tended and glorified by their crews, feared by the pro-Allied nations of the region, and hated and cursed by the GLA warlords.

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