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Infrastructural Army Battlesteamer by Imperator-Zor Infrastructural Army Battlesteamer by Imperator-Zor
At the onset of the escort war 34 IA Infrastructural industries had produced some 1,221 roadsteamers, tractors and other free range ground vehicles. Of which some 118 had been used by the Infrastructural military for logistical support, towing cannons and similar support functions away from actual battle. The idea of using steam powered ground vehicles as mobile weapons platforms was one the central committee had considered for some time, but did not implement until the onset of the Escort War.

During the Wars of Unification vehicles such vehicles were not practical to make. Engines with an adequate power to weight ratio, fuel efficiency, suspension systems as well as other technical systems were eithery beyond Infrastructure's manufacturing capacity at the time barring the use of Fabricated components or were prohibitively expensive. This fact being compounded by the matter of the logistical supply train and mechanics required to maintain these machines in the field. At the same time Infrastructural Riflers, Cavaliers, Artillery crews and wagon fortresses were more than a match for any force that the warlords could muster. After the war, the army was reduced in scale and resources were relocated to civilian fields, the expansion of the manufacturing base, consolidation of the newly conquered territories and the development of a presence at sea. In both periods, the committee also was concerned about foreign attempts at replication, both those which were fully and (more importantly) partially successful.

The Battlesteamer project was started in the looming threat of Drow Invasion and the pressing need for any edge which could be mustered to defend against it. Workers, technicians, machinists, engineers, equipment, material and factories were pulled from Civilian Roadsteamer production and reassigned to other projects, which fell from more than a hundred vehicles a year to less than ten (most of which being tractors) and spare parts. Most of the personnel involved in the Battlesteamer project would be drawn from their ranks. Several designs were tried and tested, some of which made use of components from the existing civilian models, but there was a fair amount of internal variation as the designs were modified as they went. Due to the rushed nature of the project, a fair number of the vehicles produced had defects which came up in test runs and were either extensively rebuilt or were scrapped. A few others were damaged in the test phases due to human error. Despite this, by the autumn of 37 IA some 44 Battlesteamers had been completed and put into service with six more undergoing trials.

Number Twelve was put into service in September of 35 IA and is fairly typical of most Battlesteamers. It has a 26 kilowatt double piston steam engine with an alcohol fueled boiler, though some of the newer ones have more powerful engines. It has 8mm of steel armor plating and weighs in at 4.5 tonnes. On roads it has a top speed of 35 kilometers per hour. It requires a crew of two, a drive and a gunner. It's main armament is a Type-2A 7.5mm automatic weapon in a hand cranked turret. A few warsteamers have been outfitted with a heavier Type-3A 13mm Automatic Weapon, but this considerably increases the vehicles weight, decreases it's maximum speed and necessitates a crew of three. Latter designs had broader wheels more suitable for traversing rough terrain. As of 37 IA some experiments are being made involving pneumatic tires made out of latex imported from the Southwestern Continent, but these are still experimental.
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January 26, 2015
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