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Thesis on vehicle configurations.
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Old 23 Nov 2005, 14:29   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thesis on vehicle configurations.

As many commanders will know, the fighting machines of the Adeptus Astartes were created long before the Imperium existed. Many, especially the Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders, have been in service since the Horus Heresy, or even longer.

However, what is unclear is the apparant change in design; if these vehicles are really so ancient, why do they not look ancient?

Thus, I present to you my thesis on the nature of the vehicles of the Adeptus Astartes.

The Land Raider:
The current Land Raider model is the Mk III. Almost all Forgeworlds that produce Land Raiders now produce the Mk III.

The Mk I Land Raider still exists, although in few numbers. The Ultramarines are perhaps the best example of a Chapter that still retains these ancient machines, although they are more for "parade" use than actual combat; each vehicle is an irreplaceable relic.

The Mk I is known to have been used in the Horus Heresy. However, it is likely that this civil war was the death-knell for the Mk I. The smallest of the Land Raiders, its armour was lighter, and its operational components more vulnerable to enemy fire. Whilst it served admirably in most battles, its flaws were proven when the guns of the Astartes, and the Legio Titanica, were turned upon it. Despite the upgrading of the weapon systems to the "twin-linked" forms we know of today, the Mk I still suffered.

Demand formed for a new Land Raider; a machine that had thicker armour, bigger guns, but no loss in transport or speed. No-one knows when the Mk II first appeared, or which side fielded them first, but it quickly eradicated the earlier Mk I. Indeed, the Adeptus Mechanicus now believe that the Mk I is not a Land Raider at all; merely a counterfiet machine designed to fill the same tactical roles.

Yet even these advances were not enough. In the creation of this new god-machine, many of the more sophisticated systems, such as the automated sponson-guns and target-assistance systems, had to be abandoned. As such, the Mk II shares more traits with the tanks of the Imperial Guard than other Astartes vehicles.

With the end of the Heresy, and mankind once more expanding and rebuilding, time and materials needed for proper research became available. STC fragments were uncovered and examined, revealing templates for auto-sponson armaments that gave 180[sup]o[/sup] targetting without the Mk I's vulnerabilities.

These innoventions and discoveries led to the Mk III Land Raider we know today.


All this still does not answer one question: How can the Land Raider continue to serve throughout the millenia, and yet still be the epitome of combat efficiency? The answer lies in the Machine Spirit.

There are times when a Land Raider is damaged beyond recovery, and despite the efforts of the Techmarines, it must be melted down. However, it is often the case that the machine's Spirit will endure. The Spirit is removed from the tank, and placed in a new body. Thus the tank is still, save cosmetically, the same tank that has fought since the Age of Strife. Indeed, many of the oldest and greatest Land Raider Crusaders owe their origins to the Mk I Land Raiders who fought on Mars; converted into Spartans to carry more Terminators, and breach the Chaos fortifications.
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Old 23 Nov 2005, 16:25   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

Is it also true that previous versions of the Land Raider also required more crew to operate, and that the Mk I did have fire access points?

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Old 23 Nov 2005, 19:33   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

The Mk I did not have "Fire points", as no such rules existed in Rogue Trader.

As for crew... Land Raiders had 2 Crew in 3rd Edition. However, I think they orginally had 4...
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Old 23 Nov 2005, 19:48   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

2 crew members controling 3 guns ,driving a tank and looking out from a cupola? I know the adeptus mechanicas can do some amazing things but not that amazing. 4 is a lot more plausible.
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Old 23 Nov 2005, 19:49   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

Remember that in the Mk III model, the Lascannons are targetter-operated, so in theory all you need is a driver and engineer.
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Old 25 Nov 2005, 01:07   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

Go on, do the Predator.
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Old 25 Nov 2005, 07:45   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

Predator:
The Predator is currently on its fourth configuration. What became of the previous models, I will list herein:

The Predator began its history as a Razorback-style vehicle, sporting an Autocannon and smaller transport space. Over time, the Predator evolved to carry additional armour, and carry Heavy Bolters.

This we know from numerous historical texts. However, the Adeptus Mechanicus have a closely-guarded secret, and that is the original Predators had Lascannons sponsons, totally contradictory to their claims!

The origins of this Mk I Predator are presumably thus: When the Predator was born, the Horus Heresy was already underway. Rather than anti-infantry armaments, Loyalist and Traitor needed a tank capable of engaging and destroying opposing heavy armour, such as the Land Raider. Thus the tank was retro-fitted to sport Lascannons. This modification was all but lost in the mists of time, and never considered "official" until extensive research on the Annihilator variant. The Mk I is easily recognised because of its large, squashed-disk style of turret, half-moon sponson guards, and Mk I Rhino chassis used as a base design.

The Mk IIIb Predator still exists in service, although not in large numbers. Produced originally on Phaeton, this model uses the Mk I Rhino chassis, with a forward-alligned turret. The tank is smaller, and thus faster than the Mk IV, but lacks the in-built redundancies of the Mk II chassis, making it more prone to immobilisation.

The Mk IV Mars Pattern Predator is the currently-accepted design. Based off the Mk II Rhino Chassis, it is larger, more heavily armoured, but slightly slower than the Mk III. However, the true benefits lie in its superior target-acquisition technology, and in-built redundancies.

One question remains, however; what became of the Mk II? No record of its existence can be found in any archives I have accessed, and I can only conclude that the Mk II never saw production, deemed unworthy or unsuitable for some unknown purpose. Other theories are that the Mk II Predator represents the "missing link" between Predator and Land Raider. The truth, whatever it is, is likely to remain hidden for a long time...
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Old 25 Nov 2005, 07:57   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

Dreadnoughts:
There are more configurations of Dreadnought than any other fighting vehicle available to the Astartes.

Most commonly found is the Mk V Dreadnought. However, there are supposedly at least ten variations of Dreadnought. I will look at them in turn...

The Mk I is the most ancient Dreadnought, but now all but vanished. Common during the Horus Heresy, the Mk I was akin to a giant suit of Power Armour, in which a Marine was interred. It is possible, although unconfirmed, that the Mk I served more as a battlesuit than a Dreadnought; allowing the pilot to disembark after battle. Some of the Mk I design elements (most notably, the half-concealed helmet) are seen in the Mk IV.

The Mk II is an unknown design. However, my own theory is that the four Dreadnought variants known by the forces of Chaos as Mk VII, VIII, IX and X are, in fact, all Mk II Dreadnoughts.

Shortly after the Horus Heresy, a taskforce of Blood Angels, Imperial Fists and Ultramarines launched an assault on a Space Hulk. They found it to be filled with Daemon-constructs; androids powered by imprisoned creatures of the Warp. Data files of the Chaos force compliment made reference to these four Dreadnoughts; the Mk VII armed with twin heavy guns was the base-template. The Mk VIII was faster, the Mk IX had four guns, and the Mk X had both improvments of quad-weapons, and superior speed.

It is likely that these variations were, in fact, Daemon Engines; more akin to the Defiler than a Dreadnought. The "Mk" names refer to the numer of attempts made to convert the Mk II Dreadnought (which contained a near-dead pilot in permanent occupation) into a Daemon-Powered vehicle. Where it not for the success of these three Chapters in "Mission: Dreadnought", it is likely the Daemon-Dreadnoughts would have posed a constant and serious threat to the Imperium for millenia.

No Mk II Dreadnoughts, nor their Daemon-Powered counterparts or Android allies, have been reported for eight millenia. However, it is always possible some remain...

The Mk III Dreadnought is another enigma. However, it is believed that the Mk III were only produced on certain Forgeworlds; planets that subsequently fell to the Ruinous Powers. This would explain the basic design-differences between the Loyalist and Traitor Dreadnoughts of today.

The Mk IV and V are known to have served for millenia, and certainly saw action during the Heresy (perhaps earlier!). However, few Forgeworlds can replicate the design, and even then it is a painstaking process. As the Mk V is slightly easier to construct, especially thanks to discoveries in cero-plastic structural plating, it is the Mk V that is the most common Dreadnought variant. All newly founded Chapters post M36 have been equipped entirely with Mk V Dreadnoughts, although older models are sometimes supplied if the demand is there.
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Old 25 Nov 2005, 08:21   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

Rhino:
Only two variations of the Rhino exist, such is its brilliance of design.

The Mk I Rhino is the orignal model, known initially as the RH-1-N0 Tracked Exploration and Multi-Purpose Defence Vehicle. It was a versitile, quad-engine modular-design vehicle, capable of filling any role required of it.

The emergence of the Mk II Rhino resulted in a meteoric change in vehicle design. Where or when the Mk II was found, no-one is certain. It is likely that it was discovered whilst the Adeptus Mechanicus were still developing the Immolator, as this vehicle originally used the Mk I chassis. As no Exorcists exist with the Mk I chassis template, and both vehicles were taken from the same STC data-archive, it is likely the Mk I Immolators were used as test-beds, pressed into service to aid the Sororitas, who were desperately in need of a close-support vehicle. With the completion of the Mk II Rhino, full Sororitas vehicle production, using the superior chassis, was able to commence.

Regardless of when it was found, it replaced the Mk I almost overnight.

The Mk II is slightly larger than the Mk I, giving additional space for transportation of men and equipment. Its engine systems are more complex, and harder to maintain, but possess a redundancy feature that was responsible for the Mk II's instant success.

Every engine is co-linked. This means that if any engine fails, all remaining engines can take over. However, even if all engines fail, the built in capacitors can power the motor-dynamos, meaning the vehicle can continue to operate for short periods of time without engines! As transports go, no vehicle holds a candle to the Rhino Mk II.

Following its discovery, all Rhino-chassis models were updated, producing the Mk III Predator, Mk II Vindicator, Mk III Whirlwind, etc.


It is worth noting, however, that the forces of Chaos make considerable use of the Mk II Rhino and its chassis. Indeed, they have used the Mk II for as long as the Imperium has, if not longer!

I can only conclude that the Mk II Rhino was, in fact, present during the Horus Heresy, but the STC was subsequently lost. Presumably, the forces of Chaos only had a corrupted data-file, meaning that their Mk II Rhinos were notably inferior until they were able to capture Imperial counterparts, and reverse-engineer the required components. This would explain the Chaos armies that fielded Mk I Rhinos, and vehicles based on its chassis, and also the fact that the Chaos Mk II Rhino seems to lack the engine-reliability of its Imperial counterpart.
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Old 25 Nov 2005, 10:33   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thesis on vehicle configurations.

Razorback:
Of all Space Marine vehicles, the Razorback is the most difficult to study.

There are at least six known Marks of Razorback, of which the Mk V is the most used at present.

The Mk II is the earliest model of the Razorback I have been able to locate. Based on the Mk I Rhino chassis, it was originally armed with a twin-plasma gun and Lascannon; a configuration that has all but vanished by M41. The Mk II is easily recognised by its large, armoured gun-shield.

The Mk V uses the Mk II Rhino Chassis, and is armed with an auto-targetting turret unit. This turret is a modular unit design, capable of filling the turret-mounting of the Mk III Land Raider. Unlike the Mk II, it does not require a seperate crewman to operate, and as such was no doubt developed quite recently, perhaps in conjunction with the Mk III Land Raider.

The Mk VI is all but identical, save it uses a "Tarantula" pattern turret-mount. This has the benefit of superior targetting, range-finding and target-acquisition, but the turret-mount is heavier, and less armoured.

The question of the "Missing Marks" is one that must go unanswered. Presumably, given the Mk V's turret, the Mk III, and possibly Mk IV Razorback were developed along with the Mk III Land Raider, but before the Mk II Rhino was discovered. Unfortunately, there is no record of such vehicles in existence, so this theory cannot be supported.

A larger mystery is the Mk I Razorback. Given the simplistic nature of the Mk II, it seems likely that the Mk II Razorback was developed alongside the Mk II Predator. If this theory is correct, then the Mk I Razorback would have similarities to the Mk I Predator. Unfortunately, if this vehicle did exist, no records of it have surivived the millenia.
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