Deviation Actions

BlastWaves's avatar

Mark 1 Landboot Heavy Tank

Published:
By
102 Comments
53K Views
When you look at the post-WWI vision of what the "future tank" would look like, they were typically enormous towering vehicles which were usually bigger than your average house and had some form of enormous water-wheel or demolition device at the front with dozens of machine gun turrets just kind of sticking out of wherever they had empty space. Here's a little design inspired somewhat by those 1920s era paintings and concepts.

Farat-Gorgon Mk. 1 Landboot or by it's lesser known name: Gepanzertes Geländekampffahrzeug Ausf. A


Design
During the 1917 Arms Expo of Ostania where the Kingdom would be selecting a new tank for its armed forces, at the easternmost side of the convention stood a tall refreshments table with a mysterious napkin drawing of what appeared to be a monstrously large heavy tank simply labeled "LAND BOOT", left next to a bowl filled with fruit punch. Made with what appeared to be either crayon or a dull pencil, this horrific machine had nine turrets, a crew of 17, an engine taken straight from an old Unterseeboot (adding to the name), an enormous silhouette that would undoubtedly be seen for miles, and would cost up to 20 Mk. IV tanks for a single unit. The drawing was discovered by the then King of Ostania, Oskar Baudmann VI while loading his plate with a large helping of beef and ketchup stew. While this very poorly made napkin drawing was clearly meant to be some kind of joke made by one of the designers at the expo, the King was so impressed with this drawing that he immediately turned to the crowd of government personnel, journalists, generals, designers, and simply announced aloud: "This one." 

Despite the Ostani Ministry of Defense already choosing the Mk. IV tanks to be Ostania's new tank to be manufactured and used by the armed forces, the King continuously pushed for the production and usage of the so-called Landboot, infamously stating "If I had twenty of these machines, we would be the masters of the Steppe and be feared by all".  The entire royal cabinet and Ministry of Defense was opposed to the construction of the vehicles, stating numerous times the impracticality and faults with the design but the Ostani Army on the contrary had great faith in it, believing that such a vehicle would undoubtedly strike fear in the enemy and increase enlistment, as well as ensure the security of the Kingdom for years to come. Many generals of the Army were big advocates for the construction of the Landboots, and would often follow suit of the King and make remarks in interviews about how Ostania would be undefeatable with them, the most famous of them being in an interview with General Alexander Stravinsky who stated "We're surrounded by people on horses with swords and old muskets. If our boys had these tanks, we'd be unstoppable. I mean, what are they gonna do? Run over our moving god-fortress with a bunch of cavalry?". Between late 1917 and 1918, several court battles and heated arguments ensued between the Minister of Defense and the King alongside several generals of the Army in an attempt to block the construction of the vehicles, however after nearly two years of essentially endless arguing and all attempts to reason with the Army in a rational manner being useless, the Minister of Defense eventually gave in and allowed them to be built. A total of twenty-six units were produced between 1920 and 1921 by the Farat-Gorgon tractor and agricultural company in cooperation with Lancier Armaments for weapons and general design refinement and testing, as well as Onissia Shipyards National for providing the control, electronics, and engines of the tanks.

The first working prototype, lovingly designated "The First One" by its crews, exited the Farat-Gorgon factories on December 25th, 1919. After leaving the building and beginning to role off of the tarmac, the vehicle proceeded to immediately drive towards the local town of Horoa in New Tylisvia for a show off to the people and to test its urban capabilities. When it reached East Baker street, the tank immediately began to fall through the road due to its obscenely heavy weight and eventually ended up having to be lifted out of the ground via an industrial crane borrowed from one of the local shipyards. Many changes were made after this disastrous first test drive, especially regarding weight and its distribution as well as the removement of some of the heavier firepower, most notably an 8 inch howitzer cannon (204mm) which was haphazardly built into the main turret. The main cannon was then changed to a 1.85 inch (47mm) gun and the internal configuration was quickly modified to be more lightweight, using less armor and materials.

Crew
While the original Landboots had a crew of seventeen comprised of a single driver/forward cannon assistant, forward cannon gunner, two side cannon gunners, two engine mechanics, eight turret machine gunners (six at the front and two at the rear behind the engine), one commander, one radio operator or "below deck coordinator" and one assistant turret cannon gunner/loader, this would later be changed following several complaints by the rearmost gunners who stated that they "felt as if they were inside a furnace" due to the heat of the 600 horsepower engine directly to their side. As a result, in September of 1922 the crews were reduced to fifteen, with the mechanics manning the guns only if required in emergencies.

The turret gunners of the Landboot also lacked the seats that drivers would be given, and instead had to sit upon plastic seats suspended by belts (comparable to that of a playground swing) that would lead up into the turrets with circular ball-bearing races. Later modifications would have tall benches that would allow turret gunners to essentially stand in place as opposed to suspending themselves entirely. It is questionable why this design choice was chosen, as internally the vehicles were quite spacious, enough so to fit some kind of proper seat for each of the gunners. Some attribute this to the Ministry of Defense attempting to save as much money as possible when building the Landboots as they were already considered obsolete and largely useless when they entered service, while others suspect this simply being just poor design choice under the Farat-Gorgon company.

Engine
The massive, 600 horsepower engines of the Landboots were actually taken directly from decommissioned Ostani Navy Type II "Swordfish" U-boats, with heavy modifications made to the engines to make them actually fit and function inside the hull of the tank. While several conventional diesel and gasoline engines were tried from agricultural tractors and various other heavy machinery, none of the engines tested seemed to actually be able to move the tank at a speed that exceeds 5 MPH, coupled with terrible gas mileage, a problem still present even with the current U-boat engine setup. Due to this, typically most Landboot crews would load several barrels and cannisters filled with diesel into the aft section of the tank, to refuel without the need of pulling over and requesting a fuel truck, despite many Ostani Army regulations prohibiting that. This has been attributed to the loss of two Landboots after the barrels reportedly spontaneously combusted after being positioned too close to the engine (#09 of the 4th Heavy Armor Brigade), or being struck directly by an enemy shell after it penetrated the rear armor (#02 of the 1st Special Assault Brigade during the Battle of Stoltzi bridge).

Shell Elevator or "Shellevator"
One of the notable innovative features of the Landboot was an electronic shell elevator or as crews called it the "Shellevator" that ran from the floor of the lower hull to the top turret, allowing crews to send up shells to the top with ease in the event that the ammunition above was depleted. After repeated usage however, usually 10-20 times, the elevator's battery would gradually be drained and slow down to the point where it would take up to two whole minutes to send a shell up, or more often simply break upon pressing the button. This was a known issue even during testing, and thus a manual hand crank was installed so that in the almost certain event of it running out of power or breaking down, a crewman could hand crank the shell up into the hatch as opposed to climb up the tall crew ladder to pass it to the loader.

Field Performance
The land surrounding Ostania and its neighboring countries is mostly flat and empty taiga or steppe, which is actually perfect for heavy tanks and such vehicles to operate in, however the Landboots still had issues with traversing terrain even in this location. Often if the tanks were in any uneven or even mildly soft terrain such as after rain, they would very quickly begin to dig into the ground due to their rather narrow treads. In an attempt to prevent this, during peacetime the Landboots were usually escorted by either 1-2 light tanks, or a single unarmed scout car equipped with special terrain inspection equipment which would drive ahead of the vehicles and swiftly test and then judge the quality of terrain so that they could be able to drive without sinking into the ground. This did not always work and more often than not proved to be useless, either due to crews not actually caring enough to follow protocol, or the Landboots in general just being too heavy regardless of the tests. These common incidents of them sinking into the ground eventually caused the Landboots to be given the joke name of "Untergrundboots" by their crews and various army personnel.

Loss, remaining units, and operators
Of the twenty-six total production units produced, only ten remain in service of the Ostani Army, with the other sixteen either being lost due to various issues such as terrain, engine failure, spontaneous combustion, or being deactivated and disassembled for swapping weapons and internal components. It is most likely that the tanks are simply too obsolete and of little use in combat, simply kept to be used for propaganda purposes either in film or during the November 8th military parades at the Ostani capitol.

While the Ostani Army never attempted to actually market the tanks to any other nation, either due to the Ministry of Defense believing that no other nation would even consider purchasing one or the Army simply attempting to keep all of them in its inventory, only one tank has actually been operated by a separate nation, that being the distant lands of the Bhalnüt-Gâd Host. During a routine border patrol, one of the Landboots (#15, 4th Heavy Armor Brigade) fell through a frozen lake while attempting to cross it and was left half submerged with its turrets sticking out of the ice. The crew managed to escape with only minor injuries (save for the driver who was given a head concussion) and the Landboot was abandoned, thought to be too dangerous to attempt to pull out and recover. The following few weeks later, the vehicle was discovered by a Bhalnüt horseman, who immediately recognized what the massive machine was thanks to large helpings of Ostani propaganda and border patrols. Hurriedly, he rode back to his village and called for the salvaging and procurement of the tank. In a matter of just several hours, with the force of 600 oxen and 200 of the strongest steeds throughout the land, the people of the Bhalnüt-Gâd Host managed to somehow pull the vehicle out of the frozen lake nearly entirely intact and bring it to the local village of Tknâsh-Mrekia, where it promptly received a fresh paint scheme with several unintelligible, cult-like writings alongside its hull, some singing praises to the Great Host of The Sky for bringing them such a "wonderful gift from the gods". The Ostani Army and government upon later discovering that the Landboot was now in possession of one of the nations of "horse people" attempted to reach out to the Host, hoping they would be able to return the tank, however no response was ever sent back by the Host. Thus for awhile the tank was thought to remain in their possession and active operation until February 8th, 1924, where it was discovered by aeroplane that it had fallen into another, completely different frozen lake East of the Bhalnüt capitol.
Image details
Image size
884x1024px 425.67 KB
Comments102
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Boskov01's avatar

This kinda reminds me of the Hatay Tank used in Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade (Which was basically a British Diamond Tank with a turret mounted on the top) but I still love it. The WWI and Interwar Tanks don't get the love they deserve.

Nik-2213's avatar

I'm reminded of the unrelated US mega-tank / 'Gun Motor Carriage', intended to lead conventional assault across Japan's beaches. Sorta 'Plan_B' if nuke program ran late. A few GMCs were built, and one survives. Has outrigger tracks that can be towed, but attach on each side prior to combat. Like doubling tyres on a tractor or big truck's hubs. Without them can be transported in usual way. With them, mobile off-road. IIRC, excellent videos of the mega-beast's recent transfer to new museum and re-assembly are out there on YouTube...

Orphydian's avatar

love it pls submit it to our group ArsMilitaria | DeviantArt

darklord86's avatar

An added benefit is that it digs a trench wherever you go so the troops following will only ever have to use entrenching tools to dig out the tank itself.

WetFart420's avatar
ghosttrainhunter's avatar

Must be some very wide trenches, or is it to negate bridges? "we don't need to cross them if the tank is long enough to cross it like a trench" (not meaning to sound rude just making fun of its length)

BlastWaves's avatar

One could argue its for better distribution of its weight so it doesn't sink into the ground instantly, but in reality there was no real reason for its extreme length other than it being a joke napkin design.

ghosttrainhunter's avatar

yes, that could also be said for the british mk1-5 tanks but they still sank in the mud of no man's land.

LENNYTHELENNYBOT's avatar

this is no longer a heavy tank.

It is a war rig.

Makes sense for the Germans. It would probably sink through concrete.

cullyferg2010's avatar
They're okay until someone blows the tracks off!
cullyferg2010's avatar
Then someone starts throwing gasoline bombs at it.
lifeline5's avatar
Agoslad-Reich's avatar
Too fcking awesome !!! 

Love the design, its absolutely ww1 tank idea ...

ostani is a great name to a empire ... and this tank sure carry proudly the name of this empire ...


OSTANI BIAS :3
LENNYTHELENNYBOT's avatar

yeah, i like the name Ostani too.

BlastWaves's avatar
Thank you kindly! :D
SpartanMoreno's avatar
i love this concept!

keep it up!Heart Heart 
BlastWaves's avatar
Thank you, I'm glad you like it!
A few multi-turreted tanks entered production, such as the French Char 2C and the T-35, these machines proved completely impratical in reality. First, more turrets meant more mechanical complexity which massively increased the amount of maintenance required and the number of breakdowns. Second, tank commanders struggled to give effective orders to engage multiple targets at once, being unable to concentrate on what one target was doing.
YourLocalTechpriest's avatar
What I'm assuming was the creative process: 
-We present you with... CHAR2C!!!  
- ... 
-something wrong? 
-More Guns 
-What? 
-IT NEEDS MORE GUUUUUNS!!!
BlastWaves's avatar
marshalrisris's avatar
I'm in love with your technique,pretty good work.But how do you make all those shading/llighting effects and those dirt/mud things without your image getting antialiased? I hope its not your kind of ''art secret'' :D
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In