War Sage Tank
|War Sage Tank|
|Minor Faction||Capitalist China|
|Designation||Main Battle Tank|
|Production Building||Command Station|
|Secondary Ability||HESH round|
- A Wave of Metal: By all standards, the War Sage Tank is obsolete with a single copy of the gun fitted onto the Mark II Thunderer from the last war, only having modern composite armour on the front, and being an ergonomic nightmare built to the lowest bidder. But they are decently tough from the front, and they are very cheap; capable of being produced in huge numbers in which case they can find weak points through the law of averages.
- Begone Peasants: The War Sage can fire a special blend of HESH shell that produces extra shrapnel and an extra high powered explosive that can blow holes in infantry formations and rattle defenses, but with these shells being expensive and Capitalist China being notorious penny pinchers; they can only be fired with the Commander's orders.
- Not Enough Tanks!: The War Sage is completely helpless in the face of airpower with only some piddly little machine guns to retaliate against deadly ground attack craft and helicopters, and of course; cannot retaliate against tank destroyers, anti-tank infantry and artillery hitting it from unexpected angles or beyond its range.
- Most Excellent!: The best War Sage tanks have upgrade kits from the Syndicate that allow them to shut down enemy vehicles as an opening stage of their assault, but these cost a pretty penny; making sure that all but the richest of Blue Chinese Warlords will only give them to their best tanks.
Before the bombs
Jiang Jieshi needed a war machine capable of constantly churning out all manner of war machines, and engaged in a vast semi-sprawlification of his cities. He erected so called "human hives" that would habitate the workers for enormous factory complexes made at the lowest bidder that disregarded safety laws, labour regulations, and environmental concerns with the sole purpose of creating both war material and cheap consumer goods to sell out of his Blue China and earn him more money with which to build and buy more and more tanks. Conditions in these facilities were horrible, with bland processed food being all most people could afford to eat; with casualties on the job being a fact of life and these hives quickly becoming polluted wastelands that surpassed even syndicate sprawls. Gas masks were a necessity to venture outside, and all water had to be heavily filtered to be drinkable.
Everyone had to do their "patriotic duty to the Fatherland", lest it fall into the hands of Internationalist Socialism and away from the embrace of prosperity and "freedom". While most Blue Chinese ultimately grew apathetic as they worked long hours in horrid, hot conditions between predetermined meal times and collapsing in bed to try and catch what restless sleep they could; to do otherwise would invite the attentions of the police, or worse; the National Garrison Command. Even with the nuclear destruction of China, there was no peace for the inhabitants of the surviving hives and factory-cities, the Warlords who were beginning to carve out their spheres of influence even as Chinese governance collapsed in both halves of China needed war materials at the front, even if the workers had to die of sheer stress to make them.
It was small wonder then, that many who found the opportunity to do so jumped ship. Whether it was to the Empire, the Comintern, the Green Chinese, India, the IPTO, the Contingent, the Federation or others didn't really matter, as long as they could leave their industrial hell. But others could not escape, and the products of their labour still litter the Chinese landscape. One of the most infamous of these vehicles was the War Sage Tank, one of the most mass produced tanks in human history as it rolled out of war factories, hives, factory-cities and just about any industrial complex capable of rolling them out to drive the endless meatgrinder of war forward.
Knowing full well that the time that infantry and artillery pieces alone could win a war were long over, the Blue Chinese demanded a tank that they could produce in huge numbers. They didn't need the high quality tanks of their benefactors; but instead something cheap and easy to manufacture with the quality of tools they had available. They wanted something fast and had the frontal armour to take the hits that were thrown at them, and so ended up producing the Type 66 War Sage Tank, quite possibly the "cheapest, crappiest hunk of junk to consider itself a mainline Battle Tank I've ever seen" in the words of American General George S Patton upon examining some tanks sent back to America upon capture by American expeditionary forces in China, being decidedly unimpressed by its test performance. The tank was entirely indigenous, as no foreign tank fit the brass' specifications, and any factory taken that could was turned over to making these weapons of war.
The Type-66 War Sage Tank is a box of crudely-welded metal and "composite" plates with various makes of engine propelling them. The armour is usually made from whatever metal, ceramics, and plastics they could get, though the first Type 66s were made out of simple steel. Ergonomics are rather obviously something that suffers quite intensely to get the affordability needed; with only rudimentary climate controls being given to prevent the crew from flat out dying. The seats are simply civilian chairs they found capable of fitting inside, and the gun sights are made from templates that used to make binoculars and telescopes for civilians. The only thing that is not skimped on is the main gun; even Blue China fails to find the benefit of their own tanks exploding; such would cut too deeply into the cost margins; and the vehicles had a surprising amount of thought put into crew survivability with numerous means of keeping the crew alive and helping them escape a dead tank, if only because this would be cheaper than having to train new crews constantly.
The 120mm armour piercing main gun; equivalent to one of the guns used on the Thunderer Tank is nothing special, but it gets the job done well enough, and enough shells will destroy anything. All this shortcutting pays off, for it was estimated that three Type-66s were built for every one destroyed. Indeed, destroying Type-66s only made it easier for Red China to build new ones, as salvaged parts from the battlefield were quickly used for new tanks. Countless Type-66s were built, destroyed, and rebuilt over and over again. They would be dubbed the War Sage Tank, so named because the study of its use was key to understanding the pace and tempo of the war. They may not have been experts in the martial arts, but if one did not know how to deal with War Sage Tank hordes one could not understand the war for China. One could not understand why Red China put so much effort into creating and acquiring tank killing weapons, platforms, and doctrines, or why Blue China generally held the initiative.
Designed in secret in the lead up to the second world war, the War Sage was preferred over the more expensive Retrievers and Thunderers and from the "Great wind of reclamation" offensive's beginning to the moment it stalled in 1953 followed by the years of retreat; the War Sage Tank made an impact on warfare disproportionate to its lack of individual quality. Having any sort of tank is infinitely superior a battlefield situation to having no tanks, and Blue Chinese doctrine demanded lots and lots and lots of tanks. Heavily inspired by the method of war utilized by the Alliance in Europe and Canada, the Nationalists dreamed of, and made an army wrapped around colossal; ceaseless armoured offensives and heavy firepower. The War Sage was the epitome of this, and it would crash against the red cliffs like a never ending blue wave of metal and guns. It was their very cheapness that allowed Jiang to amass a huge stockpile of them in secret in preparation for his offensive, which contributed so much to his early successes.
And it would be this cheapness that would allow the numbers of War Sage tanks to seemingly explode like some sort of Virus in tank form as the Nationalists seized one industrial complex after the other and raised hive after hive. Even the Syndicate was impressed by the attention to the bottom line given by the Nationalists, and unsettled by the lack of any real quality controls that ensured that many of the war sages produced after the initial bumper crop could not live up to the standards set by the first generation Type-66s. But once the Red Chinese rallied with the aid of their allies and the intervention of Japan, the flaws of the War Sage piled up in dramatic fashion just like its brother in the Thunderer Tank. But whereas the Alliance tried to switch over production to favouring the more practical Retriever Tank; Jiang Jieshi just stubbornly ordered "more tanks, millions of tanks; until these foes can resist us no longer, no matter their tactics or weapons."
And that order is exactly what he got fulfilled, even after the formal end of world war two; the Chinese Civil war continued and War Sage Tanks rolled off the assembly lines in seemingly unlimited numbers. Many to their doom, but there were always more to take their place. Any means of keeping these vehicles fueled was looked into; with perhaps the only concession to the environment ever given by the Nationalist government being the adoption of biofuel...and that was because the War Sage tanks were negatively affecting the world oil market and the Syndicate offered them a bargain on ethanol crops. Rather than replace the War Sage, the Nationalists simply kept on incrementally upgrading them as time went along, seeking to keep their Type-66 tank relevant on the battlefield through any invention made by their hated enemies. So many were swarming down the fields that even helicopter and ground attack plane airstrikes only ever seemed to slow them down, and even with increasingly less imaginative tactics the Blue Chinese often gained ground through sheer stubbornness.
By the time world war three rolled around, many fields were so churned by the neverending press of Type-66 tank tracks that a new term was coined "Trackscape" to describe ground that had been chewed up by the horrors of modern war; like the sight of ground turned over by tracks and dug up by shells and machine gun casings while the detritus of combat littered every field. Cloned tank crews became increasingly common so as to increase the supply of ablebodied crews faster than even the most extreme of pro-birth programs could bring about; all smashing against the same lines over and over with the hopes of creating breakthroughs to exploit. The war had long turned into a stalemated farce far worse than even the most pessimistic retellings of the first great war, but ever onwards did Type-66 tanks press; ever onwards were they turned to wreckage, recycled, and sent into battle once more with greater numbers. New weapons joined the war all around them, but they kept on being its dominant aspect. That is...until it all ended in 1971.
After the Bombs
The Hives that once made the War Sages have long been reduced to craters, but hundreds of thousands, if not more, of Type-66 tanks still exist, and many War Factories that used to produce them still operate; churning them out if they can get the supplies needed to start running and producing SPAM template vehicles again. Though the Blue Chinese "unending wave" method of warfare precludes enormous tank parks sitting around doing nothing in warehouses or Museums (though some corrupt Nationalists bought enough to form their own private collections for their eccentricities), but so many of the tanks were made and deployed away from where any bombs fell that anyone with the know how to start them up can lay claim to enough war sages to form a substantial tank park of their own. They even had enough fuel to move across the blasted lands, as enormous fuel depots are scattered across the barren wasted land, filled with Ethanol for the Tanks to run on for years to come; and with supplies coming in again from the south; they will likely be able to run indefinitely.
Like a twisted, technological version of the Dark Ages of yore, bands of roving Type-66 tanks scour the landscape for food, medicine, and even the hapless bystander or two to take their misery out on. They can, however, be bribed, threatened, or simply beaten by remaining Blue Chinese base commanders who are powerful or dangerous enough, and will never hesitate to go after Red, Green, or Yellow Chinese. Little can stop them otherwise, especially if they no longer obey the orders of the remaining Blue Chinese officers. Many bands of survivors consider the tell tale signs of an approaching War Sage raider group to be one of the most terrifying sights one could ever see, and even professional military forces may be pressured by the sudden assault of over a hundred tanks moving in close-knit formation firing with gleeful abandon to kill whatever they can catch while using sheer numbers to protect their flanks from attack; presenting the enemy with no easy targets.
The only thing that could clear them out as far as things stand in China right now is the Atomic Chinese forces that hunt them. This is harder than it sounds, even for such a powerful force. The Atomic Chinese, surprisingly, are ill equipped to deal with them. Few cloned infantry have the tools or experience necessary to fight such diehards, and the Atomic Dynasty has better use for military vehicles than chasing around some motor-bandits who don't (often) attack Atomic Chinese installations anyways. And for all the cheapness that went into designing the War Sage, it is at the least; better designed from a military standpoint than anything that has yet to come out of Atomic China's design bureaus, and in the large groups the War Sage hordes travel in; being at a disadvantage regarding who can hit who first is quite often a death sentence; requiring the deployment of large amounts of anti-armour forces the Viceroy quite frankly feels can be better used elsewhere.
For now, the War Sages roam across the atomic wastelands, a threat to those people who ever see them. They're often modified heavily, with additional weapons, canopies, or engines from larger vehicles. The distinct shape, however, is impossible to miss. The War Sages's crude design has allowed it to survive hell itself, and it still hunts for International Socialists, as well as the cloned fiends or religious fanatics who want to steal their nation from them. They're often quite happy to pick a fight with the Axis' patrols in China or Epsilon and the WLA's efforts to coordinate with the Lightning Worshippers; and when faced with the truly strange foes the world has to offer; are quite often eager to engage them to prove their strength to others in their great bandit hordes. Some rumors even say that some have taken to organizing themselves like the Mongol clans of old, and that one of these War Sage "Khans" known as the Sun Fang has already declared himself the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, and hopes to unify the bandit hordes into a continent conquering army.