|Charger Assault Transport|
|Faction||Order of the Talon|
|Secondary Ability||Evacuate Passengers|
|Veterancy Upgrade(s)||• Pneumatic crossbow turret (vet)|
• Enhanced crushing (elt)
• Immunity to slowing effects (her)
• Thermobaric jet (div)
|Country of Origin||United Kingdom|
|Forged by||Glasgow Forge|
|Key Features|| » Antique fire-tube boiler|
» Coal-fed stoker
» Modified steam circut
» Pilot opens up to deploy men inside
» Luggage Storage Racks
"All aboard! Next stop: infidel base!"
- - Charger Engineer
Tactical Analysis Edit
- Full Steam Ahead: A unusual sight on the battlefield, the Charger is a steam locomotive equipped with an armoured prow, which affords it considerable protection from frontal attack and can be rammed forward to force enemy units aside.
- All Aboard: As the Talon's transport, the Charger has room for several infantry, which it can carry into battle at full steam.
- Run 'em over: While the Charger has no weapons, drivers of Chargers are known to resort to running over enemy infantry, a brutal but effective tactic.
- Battle Locomotive: As the Charger's crew gains experience, they often outfit such extras that make a fully upgraded Charger extremely difficult to stop. Such upgrades include a pneumatic crossbow turret, a reinforced prow that can crush heavy infantry and battlesuits, countermeasures that make the Charger all but immune to slowing effects, and a powerful thermobaric jet that allows the Charger to ram through just about any obstacle that gets in its way.
Operational History Edit
For the Order of the Talon, the desert provides many things; triumph, disaster, hardship, clarity of thought, and every so often, innovation. One such event was only a blink of an eye ago for the Order, but several decades or more for the rest of the world. For decades the Steam Locomotive was the symbol of the Industrial Revolution. Large, mighty, and imposing, it was the very mount of the whole era. But all things come to an end, and soon diesel-electric engines replaced coal fired trains. At best steam locomotives were kept as curiosities and museum pieces, at worst they were allowed to rust in scrap yards.
As far as the Order was concerned, the Industrial Revolution gave them many new options for dealing with their hated enemies. For centuries, the Black Hand always set up their temples in the basements and hidden rooms of otherwise normal buildings. Since these were not fortified buildings, the Talon only needed to drive up and either set it on fire, or storm it.
However, beginning in the late 19th century, the Black Hand began setting up fortresses deep in the countryside, away from prying eyes. Using curtain walls, fortified buildings, and other defences, the Talon had to resort to resort to bombardment to destroy these temples, attracting so much attention and collateral damage that it became a Pyrrhic victory at best. This came to a head when the Talon found a massive yet well hidden base in northern Egypt. For days the steam artillery and Crawlers of the Order bombarded the pyramid-like structure, but the obvious battle caught the attention of too many civilians, who had to be dealt with. When the base was finally reduced to rubble, there was enough evidence on both sides to suggest Coptic extremists destroyed an Egyptian-themed tourist attraction, which lead to a nation-wide pogroms against these Egyptian Christians and Talon allies.
After this debacle, the Talon set about thinking up new strategies, and soon they hit upon an idea. Discretely, they began purchasing steam locomotives from many manufacturing companies around the world. Replacing the antiquated boilers with a more efficient Talon design, space was opened up on the sides of the locomotives, where a few men could sit without being scalded. It was necessary to hold them there instead of the back, because the pilot on front was designed to ram forward, and then open the doors in a blink of an eye. The men inside, usually footmen, would rush thorough before the smoke cleared and dispatch any cultists inside. The Talon replaced the locomotives’ pilot assembly with an all-terrain wheel system, and soon these Charger Assault Transports were able to move across the landscape on their own, delivering men into the very heart of the enemy base.
As the years came and went however, the Order found itself with a growing problem; the original models of the Charger had performed sterling work for decades. However, they were now starting to show their age; their pipes were leaking, their joints were groaning, and even when in top condition, they were having trouble building up the effort to do their work. The discovery that the Cult was now fortifying their temples to the standard of modern military structures, rendering their current Chargers impotent, was the straw that broke the camel's back. Clearly, something needed to be done. It was quite by chance that opportunity knocked.
During the Second World War, the Soviets made many offensives into the Middle East, looking towards the Iranian oil fields and the warm-water ports present in Palestine. Each time, they were stopped in their tracks by determined and bloody counter-attacks by the Allies. All of these attacks were centred around one area; a long railway line that crossed the Middle East like an arrow, linking cities and military camps together. Whoever controlled the railway could command this vital link and use it to conquer the region.
Thus it so happened that a Rogue was on patrol near the vital railway line when he witnessed a Soviet air strike on an Allied supply train. The derailed steam engine was unceremonially dragged off the line by two Mastiff tanks and left there to rust as a new engine was coupled on and took the mostly undamaged train away. When the Rogue reported this to the Crawler he was a part of, the Craftsmen arranged to acquire the abandoned locomotive, rebuild it, and then test it against the current model of Charger, very successfully. The Order had found the solution to their problems.