The Frenchman Monsieur Bazin has patented the idea of a new form of paddle steamer which rolls across the ocean on eight giant hollow wheels, a platform between them suspended 20ft above the waters surface. Given such engineering feats as the Trans-Panamanian ship railway it was not long before Ms. Bazin began to consider a similar vehicle for land.
The French and German governments were initially very interested. Interest waned when it was considered the effect of such machines on their farmland. Also it was rumored that both sides had dug massive underground galleries in their border regions as leviathan traps.
There are rumors of such vehicles being built on Mars, and the British Government is considering building one in India.
The two nations that operate land leviathans on Earth are the USA and Russia.
The Russian machine is the Katrinia. As well as being a military base this is also a mobile palace for the Tsars family, so includes such necessities as a swimming pool, steam baths, velocipede track and stables. As well as the horse sleighs and carriages of the Imperial family the stables can also accommodate mounts for at least two troops of cavalry usually one of Imperial Horse Guards and another of Cossacks.
The American vessel is the Mobile Fort George Armstrong Custer, which is intended as a deterrent to Indian uprisings.
In fact its presence seems to be taken as a challenge by some, and recently a daring nighttime raid was undertaken by a party of Plains Indians. Springfield rifles were stolen, coup was counted on the bridge crew and the boilers were damaged sufficiently to immobilize the leviathan for several days.
This has not put the commander in a good humour towards the native Americans.
The Föhn glider is Germanys latest weapon against foreign liftwood fliers and airships.
The Föhn is a small glider. The pilot lies prone in an armoured cockpit, giving the aircraft a very narrow frontal area. The aircraft is made even harder to spot by being painted in a light blue-grey colour.
What makes the Föhn so dangerous is that it is very difficult to spot, whichever direction it approaches from. Often it will not be seen until it has approached well within the range of its weapons.
The Föhn is usually armed with a battery of rockets or a single bomb, although machine gun armed models are also known.
The Föhn pilots favoured tactic is to make a high speed dive, preferably with the sun at his back. Diving Föhns have been known to reach over 300mph.
Föhns are also capable of attacking when in more level approaches, or swooping down and then up again to attack the flyers underbelly.
Real World Story A glider interceptor, the BV40 was considered in 1944 for use against American day bombers. Dive speed would have been in excess of 560mph.
The Marlborough is an open-topped landship. At least five have been built on Mars and two examples are serving in India.
The body resembles a giant bathtub, with the sides sloped slightly inward, and it moves of four great tractor wheels of more than 6ft diameter.
Mounted at the bow is a short 4" (20lb) gun and on each side is a Maxim gun with a shield (one Martian Marlborough has five-barrel Nordenfelts instead). In the centre of the vehicle is a pedestal mount for a QF gun, usually a two-pounder or 3lb HRC. This provides all-around fire against flyers and other landships. At the rear is the boiler, engine and fuel.
The Marlborough is a particularly handsome landship, with brass fittings, a polished cleated wooden deck and usually a regimental crest painted on its broad sides. In keeping with this crewman tend to wear their scarlet tunics even if the other troops are in khaki.
Crewmen particularly like the Marlborough since it allows them to operate in the fresh air, although the Indian vehicles tend to have racks for umbrellas as well as for rifles!
The weapons mix of the Marlborough has proved to be very versatile so three roofed and tracked landships called the Cranfield class have been built with the same armament. The machine cannon is mounted in a small turret and the maxims are in sponsons. One Cranfield has been recently shipped to Venus as a counter to German tripods but the marshy Venusian ground often limits its mobility. The presence of this vehicle in the British section of Venusstadt has caused some tension.
By the Author of the Scrapboard :
Attack, Avoid, Survive: Essential Principles of Self Defence
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