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T-26 "Wraith" Mortar Gun Carriage
IconTalon
Faction TalonLogoThumb Order of the Talon
Unit Type Light Tank
Designation Anti Surface/Fire Support
Prerequisites Reliquary
Secondary Ability Unknown
Cost Unknown
Production Time Unknown
Veterancy Upgrade(s) • MIRV shells (vet)
• Shells set area ablaze (elt)
• Increased ROF and speed (her)
Dev. Status Conceptualized
Country of Origin  Irelandthumb Ireland
Forged by  Dagda Forge
Key Features  » 120mm mortar
 » White phosphorous shell load
 » Field spotter's glass
 » IRA Flag (added after official inspection)
 » Dangerously overcharged steam engine

"I come in the name of the Lord to punish its enemies."

- Wraith Driver

Tactical Analysis Edit

  • SUPPORT FIRE!!!: Wraiths are light artillery - not heavy artillery pieces. While effective against infantry and buildings, tanks aren't much bothered by incendiary shells. The Wraith also doesn't have the range of heavy artillery unless firing at a spotting flare, and is as fragile as any other artillery unit, so do not count on these units to break heavy defensive lines.
  • Quantity is a quality: On the other hand, Wraiths are faster and cheaper than big guns, and will efficiently murder infantry at long range with area-effect firestorms. It is also a surprisingly swift vehicle, not at all a lumbering siege gun, and an effective harassment tool.
  • Thin-skinned: Still, Wraiths are fragile and cannot defend themselves against direct attack. While their speed makes them more mobile, they are no more capable of fending off an enemy attack than other artillery pieces.

BackgroundEdit

"Find me something that isn't burning yet."

- Wraith gunner coordinating with spotter

One week, the man had said. One week to turn out the cultists and their war material in the village or else the village would face annihilation.

Nodava was a small village in Kuwait, one of many villages that had grown up around artificial rivers Soviet engineers had created to bring life and sustenance to the barren desert as the Soviet Union slowly and covertly rolled into the country and began ingratiating itself to the population. Local power groups, of course, were not happy to see Kuwait slowly but surely fall under the Soviet spell, and villages like Nodava had become the front lines between Soviet Union troops and the guerillas of the Global Liberation Army. This man, however, had been different, rolling into Nodava in a desert-variant ranger truck marked with the hawk insignia. Mohammed al-Jasif, Nodava's headman and functional mayor, had heard stories of the hawks, of course. Everyone in this part of the world had. A secret branch of the Allied Nations, the Soviets claimed, but al-Jasif doubted it. The man had worn black robes bare of insignia, and his bald head had been tattooed with strange patterns. Turn over the scorpions, he had said with neither hostility nor gentleness, or be annihilated seven days from now. A simple declaration of fact and intent.

What choice did al-Jasif have? The only scorpions in Nodava were of the eight-legged variety, the kind that, when toasted, were beloved by the occasional Soviet patrols as exotic snacks they were happy to pay for. But he couldn't approach the Soviets about this problem. They would either laugh at him, or ask questions he couldn't answer. al-Jasif appreciated the Soviet presence in Kuwait, certainly, but they would not commit troops to save Nodava. As a result, sheltering a few anti-Soviet terrorists and giving up a few of the village's daughters had been an acceptable price to pay for the quartet of entirely different scorpions and their infantry support now occupying the village square. Today was the seventh day, al-Jasif thought. If the threat materialized, then surely the GLA troops could hold them off. There were many things to doubt of the GLA, but their willingness to fight wasn't one of them.

Mohammed al-Jasif was still confident in his village's defence, overlooking the square from the roof of his two-story house, when the first shell exploded in the middle of the GLA infantry. Two men died instantly in the explosion, and six more joined them seconds later as a stinking, burning cloud of white phosphorous erupted from the impact. A second shell detonated eight meters to the right, turning Nodava's modest inn into a funeral pyre. A third shell followed less than a second later on the waterfront, hitting the water, but setting two small river boats ablaze. Then a fourth, and a fifth, and soon al-Jasif lost count as hell rained down on Nodava. Worse than the explosive shells themselves was the horrific phosphorous each explosion brought with it. Particles of raw hellfire spread everywhere in the village, and there was no where to run. Mohammed al-Jasif was still staring at his village in horror when another shell landed eight centimetres to his left.

He was one of the lucky ones, as were those who passed out from smoke inhalation and never awakened. Once most of the village was on fire, the incoming artillery shifted focus to the village square and the GLA armour stationed there. Many of their crewmen were already dead, victims of phosphorous particles falling into open hatches or through vision slits. A particularly unfortunate Scorpion tank took a direct hit to the engine block from an incoming shell, and detonation of the vehicle's fuel and ammunition was nearly instantaneous, killing the driver, gunner, and four men who had been fighting over the hatch, each trying to get in first. The other tanks had begun to move forward and swivel their turrets around, but it was already far too late. While even the light armour of the Scorpion was enough to deflect anything but particularly well-aimed mortar fire, another problem presented itself as the individual fires burning in Nodava began to merge into one massive conflagration. The conditions on the inside of each cramped, poorly ventilated tank were similar to those of the inside of a gas-powered oven, with predictable results.

By now, the bombardment of Nodava had ceased. There was no need for more. The firestorm that had engulfed the village was almost a living thing, breathing and hungering. Oxygen was ripped from the air to feed the inferno, leaving a rare few who had escaped the fires to suffocate instead, a mercifully painless exit. Some tried hurling themselves into the river or the village well only to boil alive in the steaming waters. One mother slathered herself and her child in mud in a desperate attempt to escape the inferno, only to be baked into fine ceramic locked forever in wordless screams. All that was flammable burned to ash, and even the rubber, plastic, and glass of the Scorpion tanks, and the sands of the desert itself, began to melt in the fire. From the raging currents of air and fire, a natural updraft formed, sending a spear of fire hurtling into the sky to be seen for miles around.


Eventually, the firestorm suffocated on its own success. With no fuel left to burn, the fires simply died out, guttering on whatever half-melted scraps that still had energy. But the bombardment wasn't over yet, even as three figures in silver armour walked into the crematorium. Snow fell upon the intruders, thick and white as any Russian winter. The ashes of nearly two hundred people and all they had ever known drifted down upon the scorched waste that had once been a thriving village, forming drifts a third of a meter thick. None of this concerned the intruders. All that interested them was a glassy pit where the house of a wealthy camel merchant had once stood. What had once been tunnel entrances snaked out of the pit, all collapsed by artificial rockfalls. Not everything had escaped, however. The charred remains of half a dozen armoured vehicles and an indeterminate number of people smouldered in the pit, and on the largest wreck, a strange mono-wheel design, the insignia of a red scorpion's tail, high and ready to strike, was still visible.

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