Ghost Sherman Tank (Junebug):
Helen and Samuel Cooper have explored much of North America. While the rogue scholar and wilderness scout husband and wife team were not as well known as Erin Tarn, they were still quite well know. They, with their two children, David and Corrine, had found an old abandoned military museum in the Midwest. If the map was correct, they were near the western border of what had been the old American Empire state of Kansas. There had been reports of Coalition patrols in the area and wanted to survey the building before the Coalition found it. Their children were playing inside an old pre-rifts tank which appeared to have been ancient when the Rifts had occurred. It looked to be in good shape and there was no rust seen. It was sheltered inside the museum but was still in surprisingly good shape even so. Perhaps once they had gone through these pre-rifts records, they would check out the tank. Suddenly, a loud roaring sound could be heard coming from the tank followed by what sounded like the engine rumbling to life. The parents ran for the tank and were relieved to see that their children were fine. The two children crawled from a hatch in the hull of the tank. Helen asked the children what happened and her son responds that he had been playing with the control panel and it had suddenly just started up. It was amazing that the old tank would start up after all this time.
The Spider Skull Walker had become separated for the rest of its unit. There was heavy jamming preventing the crew of the six legged vehicle from communicating with other Coalition units. Off in the distance was an armored vehicle. It looked similar to reports on some techno-wizard tank designs although it appeared to be smaller than it should be. The six troops riding the rear dismounted to engage the tank. They slowly snuck up towards the tank until they were within one hundred feet. All six troops opened fire simultaneously against the tank simultaneously. Huge parts of the armor were melted by the weapons but the armor remained intact. Suddenly, a wave of energy came from the tank and all of the soldiers were knocked from the ground. The troops armor was badly scorched and they had trouble getting up after tumbling for multiple yards. The tank turned and fired at one of the Coalition soldiers while a force field came up around the old tank. The blast blew the soldier's armor into splinters along with the wearer. The remaining troops began screaming for help and the pilot of the spider skull walker began marching forward to support the remaining soldiers. This attracted the attention of the crew of the old tank and the turret turned towards the six legged robot. Some time of mystic bolt came from the turret and suddenly all of the sensor and communication systems in the Spider Skull Walker began failing. The radar system only showed random fuzz with the radio system emitting loud static. The targeting computer was completely useless. The tank fired a round at the six legged Coalition vehicle. The crew barely knew that they were being fired at and the round struck the Spider Skull Walker right between the eyes. While the round did not penetrate the body of the robot, something did. The two remaining crew members felt cold and confused. They had trouble locking on target. They attempted to fire against the target but the shot went wide. A second shot was fired from the tank. The armor could not take many more hits. Four more hits and the Coalition vehicle was destroyed.
The troops had been firing at the tank but they had been unable to penetrate the force field protecting the tank. The tank commander, who was also protected by the force field, had been firing a rifle at the ground troops. As well, another of the troops had been being sprayed by the forward mounted machine gun. The troops were now down to four still standing and the turret of the tank turned towards the remaining troops. All four decided it was time to make a run for it.
The Junebug is an M4 medium tank, often called the Sherman tank. A total of almost 50,000 M4 tanks were produced. Sherman tanks served both against Germany and Japan. The M4 tank served in American, British, Russian, and a host of other smaller militaries. They fought against North Korean T-34 tanks in the Korean war. The Sherman tank was criticized as too lightly armed and armored to compete with the German Panther, Tiger, and King Tiger tanks but was very reliable and still considered one of the best tanks ever produced.
The “Junebug’s” exact model is M4A3(76)W and came off the Chrysler Detroit Tank Arsenal production lines on June 12, 1944. The Junebug carried a more powerful 76 mm cannon instead of a 75 mm cannon carried on earlier models. The “W” in the tank’s designation stands for “Wet” ammunition storage which the ammunition is carried in water protected racks bellow the turret. This was to prevent the tank from exploding if the ammunition is hit. This situation had been a problem with early models of the Sherman tank. The tank was powered by a Ford GAA Petrol engine which produced around 450 horsepower.
According to the history displayed on the exhibit where the “Junebug” was found, the Junebug is credited with destroying a Panther tank by hitting on the shot trap under the mantle of the turret. The Sherman tank is also credited with killing two German Mk IV tanks. The Junebug also fought in Korea where she is credited with killing a North Korean T-34 tank. The Sherman tank was retired soon after the end of Korea but was lovingly restored and was one of the few remaining operational Sherman tanks.
The magic of the Rifts seems to have imbued the Sherman tank with the ability to withstand damage far beyond that of any conventional steel tank. As well, the Junebug appears to regenerate damage. While generally the tank will not accept modern components, crews normally carry replacement parts for the tread so it can be replaced if damaged. The original Ford engine seems to be now powered by magical energy. It seems to be able to run several hours before needing to be recharged. One of the weaknesses of the Junebug compared to more advanced tanks is that the top speed is rather low with a speed of only around 26 miles per hour.
Instead of firing normal projectiles, the 76 mm cannon fires magical “Balefire” projectiles. These projectiles must be loaded by the tank’s loader but automatically appear in the racks. The projectiles glow a ghostly blue and crackle with mystical energy. When handled, the projectiles feel ice cold. These projectiles appear to inflict more damage than a conventional 76 mm projectile would inflict and directly effect the crew of most tank crews. The tank seems to be unable to produce unlimited projectiles and only one projectile will reappear in the projectile racks every fifteen seconds. The tank can fire about twenty rounds in a minute with a good loader. The tank can reload itself but is limited to two rounds pe melee. The rounds seem to drift into the breach of the tank. The tank mounts two .30 caliber machine guns with one coaxial to the main cannon and one on the left side of the body of the tank. Originally, the cannons fired 30-06 cartridges but the fire “balefire” magical energy cartridges similar to the main cannon. These rounds do not have the secondary effects of the main cannon but the rounds are capable of damaging the heaviest armors. A secondary advantage is that these cannons do not run out of rounds like the main cannon. The hull mounted weapon is fired by the co-driver and has the ability to traverse 20 degrees to the left and 25 degrees to the right. Above the turret is a mortar which is used for fire smoke rounds. Crews have tried to adapt it to fire mini-missiles but there has been no success at modifying the launcher. The launcher does not actually fire a smoke bomb but when the launcher is fired, the spell of “cloud of smoke” is cast.
The only weapon system which is not original is the .50 Caliber machine-gun which is believed to have been recycled from the components from the museum which the tank was recovered at. Every attempt to replace the weapon with a more modern weapon has resulted in the new weapon breaking down and crumbling within a few days. The tank seems to be willing to accept modern ammunition and it is the weapon system carried which is not powered by magical energies. Six hundred rounds of Wellington ammunition is normally carried in the tank. The tank does not reject small arms carried by the crew and other equipment which is not connected to the tank. Originally, the tank carried a medium machine gun and four .45 Thompson submachine guns. There is a firing port on the left hand side of the turret which can be used to fire pistols.
In addition to the “normal” weapons of the tank, the tank has been empowered with the ability to cast a variety of spells. One has already been mentioned, that is the ability to cast clouds of smoke when the smoke launcher is activated. Other spells include the ability to activate the spell of “Invulnerable Armor” around the tank. Smart tank crews will usually activate the spell before entering combat. The spell also allows the tank to travel underwater and protects from gas and other attacks when activated. The tank can blend into the environment when not moving using an ability similar to the spell of “Chameleon.” The tank also the ability to cast a magical shockwave which can be used to protect it against incoming missiles and against troops attacking on all sides. Finally, the tank can cast the spell of frequency jamming on an opponent. This is especially useful against vehicles with extensive fire control systems. The magical energy in the tank can also be used by the tank crew if they are spell casters.
The tank a has a variety of unusual quirks. When first found and driven, there was a hulk of an old Tiger tank in the museum. Junebug first retreated from the old German tank and then, when backed into a corner, opened fire and demolished the World War Two German tank. The tank seems to fear any tank larger than it and may retreat if faced with other tank. The Sherman tank retreated from a Iron Hammer tank when engaged. The tank does not seem to have the same fear of giant robots or supernatural creatures. Whenever the tank, or its crew, kills an enemy, it adds a new “Kill” marking to the side of hull. This included the hulk of a tiger tank it “Killed” when it was first rediscovered. Many crews have been freaked from the sounds of the tank’s radio. Sometimes bits of conversation which appears to be the crews of other tanks. On the other side, bits of what sounds like German come from the radio at times as well. Sometimes, the sound of beeping can be heard coming from the radio. This is believed to be an ancient pre-Rifts form of communication known as Morse Code. Various music can be heard at times with most of the music being big band from the time of World war Two. The sounds of women’s voices both tanking and singing can sometimes be heard as well. These are believed to be starlets from around the same time as the music.
Model Type: M4A3(76)W
Vehicle Type: Ground, Ghost Medium Tank
Crew: 5 (Driver, Co-Driver, Commander, Gunner, and Loader)
Horror Factor: 12
M.D.C. by Location:
| Tractor Treads (2):||110 each|
|76 mm M1A2 Main Cannon||100|
| Coaxial M1919A4 .30 Caliber Machine Gun:||50|
| Hull M1919A4 .30 Caliber Machine Gun:||50|
| Cupola mounted M2HB .50 Caliber Machine Gun||60|
| Turret Mounted 2 inch Smoke Mortar / Bomb Launcher:||40|
| Pistol Port (Left side of turret):||40|
| Main Body:||560|
 Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the tank until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are normally carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
 These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot,” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
 If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and unsalvageable, but crew may survive in their reinforced compartments.
Note: The tank will regenerate at 20% of the hit locations M.D.C. per day, meaning all damage will be restored within 5 days of being damaged. Also, the Tank can create an “Invincible Armor” force field of 250 M.D.C.
Ground: Cruising speed on land is 26 mph (41.8 kph) on roads and 20 mph (32.1 kph) off road maximum. The vehicle is designed to traverse virtually all terrain and can climb at up to a 60% grade although at a much slower speed (About 10% of maximum road speed). It can also climb barriers and ford trenches. The vehicle can also handle side slopes of up to 30%.
Underwater: Tank can travel underwater at about half normal off road speed (12 mph / 19.3 kph) but is not water tight. As a result, the crew must have environmental body armor or spell of “Breath Without Air” or “Invincible Armor”
Maximum Range: Runs on magical energy, 400 miles (644 km) before the tank needs to shut down for an hour before needing to recharge. If the driver only for a percentage of the full range, the recharge only requires that percentage of an hour to recharge. A secondary advantage is that the tank can be activated immediately if all of the magical energy has not been expended.
Height: 9 feet 9 inches (2.97 meters)
Width: 8 feet 9.5 inches (2.46 meters)
Length: Main Body: 20 feet 7.5 inches (6.28 meters) and With Gun Forward: 24 feet 7 inches (7.49 meters).
Weight: 71,100 lbs (32,250.4 kilograms)
Power Source: Magic, tank systems seem to work as if run by magic
Cargo Capacity: Minimal storage space in crew compartment; about three feet (0.9 m) in side dimensions for extra clothing, weapons, and personal items. Five carbines, one machine-gun, and twelve hand grenades.
Black Market Cost: Not for Sale, price for the tank is virtually impossible to estimate
- 76 mm “Balefire” M1A2 Main Cannon: Original cannon but “Ghost”
energies cause the cannon to fire rounds constructed from magical energy
instead of standard projectiles. Cannon must still be loaded each time
by the tank’s loader. The entire can traverse through 360 degrees with
fifteen seconds and the barrel can elevate up to 25 degrees and depress
down 12 degrees. When rounds are being expended, the rounds will be restored
at the rate of four rounds per minute. Rounds will effect both the target
hit and any crew inside as if they are hit by the spell “Havoc”
Maximum Effective Range: Direct Fire: 6,000 feet (1828.8 m) for direct fire and indirect fire range of 20,000 feet (6,096 meters). Havoc effects a 20 foot (6.1 meter) area.
Mega Damage: Round inflicts 2D6x10+20 M.D.C. directly to the target. Round also inflicts 1D6 Direct to hit points per melee (Inflicts double M.D.C. to Supernatural Creatures) to the crew and the target also needs to save vs magic or are -3 to initiative, strike, parry, and dodge. (has no sense of direction or time.) Secondary effect goes direct through power armor and vehicles. Duration of secondary effect is ten melees. Havoc effects a 20 foot (9.1 meter) diameter area.
Rate of Fire: Five rounds per melee (Two rounds pe melee without loader)
Payload: 71 rounds (Regenerates at the rate of one round every 15 seconds)
- .30 caliber “Balefire” M1919A4 Machine Guns (2): The Sherman
tank has two mounts with one mounted coaxial to the main cannon with the
other mounted in the hull on the right side. The hull mounted weapon is
fired by the co-driver and has the ability to traverse 20 degrees to the
left and 25 degrees to the right. The mount can also elevate up 20 degrees
and depress down 10 degrees. The Coaxial mount moves with the main cannon.
The cannons originally fired .30-06 ammunition like most US World War 2
combat rifles but not fire magical energy.
Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (609.6 meters)
Mega Damage: Short Burst 2D6 and Long Burst 6D6
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
Payload: Effectively Unlimited
- 12.7 millimeter Browning M2HB Machine-gun: Located outside
of tank meaning that the gunner (The commander) must be outside of the
tank when using the Machine gun. Uses WI-20 Heavy Ramjet rounds. While
the weapon has been refitted using Wellington ammunition, it is still considered
underpowered by most crews. The weapon is salvaged from the components
of several machine guns found within the museum which the Sherman tank
was recovered. Owners have tried to replace the .50 machine gun with a
heavy rail gun but the replacement weapon just seemed to keep breaking
down and eventually fell apart even though constructed from high strength
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
Mega Damage: Single shot does 1D4 and 40 round burst does 5D6.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
Payload: 600 rounds (15 bursts).
Special Abilities as a Haunted Vehicle:
- Will of Its Own: The tank sometimes has a will of its own and carry out up to six actions in a twenty-four hours. This can include refusing to operate, change course, and activate the tank’s magical abilities. The tank can also make minor actions such as turning lights on, reloading main cannon, turning on the radio, and similar actions on its own without counting as an action. The tank seems most inclined towards heroic deeds such as defending others. In some cases, if its crew acts less than honorably, the vehicle may refuse their direction.
- Magical Propulsive Force: The tank runs of magical energy and while the tank cannot run forever, it can run for up to about 400 miles (644 km) before the tank needs to shut down for an hour before needing to recharge. As the magical energy is used up, the gas gauge will slowly travel towards empty. Still, the range is far better than the tank original had with a range of only around a hundred miles. Smart drives will not allow the gauge to go below a half tank to keep a reserve.
- Regenerates Damage: The tank will regenerate at 20% of the hit locations M.D.C. per day, meaning all damage will be restored within 5 days of being damaged. Even if a hit location is completely destroyed, it will slowly regenerate until completely restored.
- Natural P.P.E. / Spell Casting: 120, the tank virtually fairly hum
with magical energy. The energy regenerates at the rate of 12 P.P.E. per
hour. Double P.P.E. and regeneration on ley lines and triple P.P.E. and
regeneration at a Ley Line Nexus. Magical energy can be used by the tank’s
crew for spell casting. The tank can also cat the following spells with
spells considered to be cast as if cast by a tenth level spell caster:
- Cloud of Smoke (2)
Frequency Jamming (15)
Invincible Armor (30)
- Ghost Voices / Sounds: Periodically sounds can be heard coming from the tank’s radio. All sorts can be heard. Sometimes the voices of soldiers can be heard talking to each other. Other times, conversations in German or Korean can be heard. As well, the beeping sounds of Morris Code can be heard fading in and out. Music can sometimes be heard coming from the speakers and sometimes female voices can be heard. These have been identified as the voices of the ancient starlets Lana Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe.
- Phobia: World War Two Panther, Tiger, and King Tiger tanks. During World War Two, many Sherman tanks were destroyed by these German tanks and the Sherman tank is afraid of these tanks. The Sherman tank must make a horror factor roll of 16 or retreat. If faced by a large tank (larger than the Sherman) which the Sherman tank does not recognize, it must make a horror factor roll of 12 or greater. If the crew attempts to talk to the tank and soothe the tank, the tank can roll against horror factor again with a +2 bonus to save. If the tank is blocked and unable to retreat, it will start opening fire with everything it has.
- Billboard Surfaces: It was a common practice that tank crews would paint any kills that they have on the sides of the tank. This practice is common after the coming of the Rifts as well. Whenever the tank defeats another vehicle or monster, it will draw a new silhouette on the side of the tank.
- Rejects Modern Components: The Sherman Tank will not accept the addition of modern components and components will seem to fail and crumble within a few days.
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Special Credit to Talis D. Merrill (email@example.com) for many of the concepts and enchantments / powers for Ghost / Haunted vehicles.
Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2004, Kitsune. All rights reserved.