German "Panther" Main Battle Tank:
"Much has been said about the toughness of the Tiger and the Germans seem to believe we fly in the clouds. Obviously they have not come against a collumn of Schwarzkopf and Mackintosh running on the deck at over a hundred miles per hour to have us open fire before they even know we are there."
- USA-M-22 Mackintosh Crewmember
"The proponents of hovertanks seem to forget that where ever the terrain allows them to hover at high speed, we can
see them coming miles away. And in terrain where we can`t see hovervehicles coming miles away, they cannot
fly that fast without hitting a lot of obstacles. Unless they take to the air and go over them.
And become very visible targets. And those are hovertanks. Let us not even discuss the visibility
of some of the new and in some circles very popular "giant Robots".
One should never forget that we have optimalized the Tiger to fight the Reds, and that such a confrontation will be on the plains of central Europe (...) what works for us need not work for the US army or, in fact, for anyone else."
- Feldmarshall Zimmermann
The Panther had been the main battle tank for the German republic for over
three decades, when it looked as if it was about to be replaced by robot vehicles.
Certainly the USA had shown the way with its incredible Glitter Boy armor, more
maneuverable and lighter than any tank, yet just as well armored.
But in the last years of the century, this vision of the future changed. The SSSR was now beginning to roll out not powered armors, but the prototypes for tanks, both hover tanks and HUGE conventional ones. Unlike the NATO forces, the EU military (helped by some clever intelligence gathering) came to a most unsettling conclusion:
Tanks were far more efficient on the battlefield against Robots and powered armor than everyone had assumed, and were capable of breaking a Robot formation with relative ease, but they were also rather cheaper to build. In an interview with TASS, Marshall Vladimir Ilonoff gave a most telling quote: "For every company of Glitter Boys the Capitalists field, we field two regiments of Mega-Damage Main Battle Tanks."
The realization that the Marshall was right was cold and frightening. And the EU had much more to fear from SSSR tanks than most NATO Countries . . . And so the Generals of the EU Armed Forces came to the last company in the entire EU with any experience left in building tanks: The German firm of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. "Build us a tank capable of taking on any other current tank", they said. And Krauss-Maffei, in cooperation with Rheinmetall and Signaal, delivered.
The new Pzkw XI (Panzerkampfwagen XI) was a massive tank, with impressive capabilities. It featured a new kind of M.D.C. armor, a Bi-Phase Carbide/Durachrome laminate which lessened the effects of directed energy weapons, and was highly resistant to kinetic energy weapons as well. For its main armament it had an 88-mm high-velocity railgun, which was as powerful as any conventional weapon, but could fire more rapidly, and carried more ammunition. This was mounted slightly to the left of the center of the turret. Mounted to the right of the centerline was a 40 mm gauss cannon, for use against smaller targets. At the rear of the turret was a smaller turret with a rapid fire Pulse Laser for close in defense. Mounted flush on the right side of the turret was a reloadable missile launcher, which held two medium range missiles. On the left of the turret there was a six barreled mini-missile launcher. The entire turret was automated, and totally separated from the crew compartment, so that not only could a damaged turret be replaced easily, the crew also had improved survival chances. It also meant that in a later stadium, replacing the weapons fit would be relatively easy. Mounted in the main body of the tank itself were two particle beam weapons, one on the right, and one on the left side. These shortranged weapons were meant as a last-ditch defense against missiles and infantry.
The tank’s hull featured a layout like that of the Merkava tank of the late twentieth century, with the engine (a fusion generator) and its reaction mass located in front, the crew compartment aft of this, with the turret and the ammo storage behind this. As noted the armor was a new Bi-Phase Carbide/Durachrome laminate type, which in fact proved to be the most versatile armor ever deviced. Even in Rifts time the NGR has lost the art of making this armor, and for now concentrates on Glitter Boy armor.
Amongst the preventive measures onboard of the tank were active Infra-red
laser jammers, which actively destroyed the seeker heads of IR guided missiles,
a powerful ECM suite capable of detecting and jamming radar, Chaff launchers to
confuse radar and missiles and smoke
generators which produced a particulate smoke that obscured vision and
was difficult for laser designators to penetrate. Further electronics included
IR sensors, Radar and a powerful battlefield management communications
The most impressive piece of electronics onboard of the later versions was a robot brain which would normally guide the CIWS, but could, in case of emergency, replace one or even all of the crew members in the tank, making it a fully autonomous fighting unit!
More preventive measures included IR suppression and active cooling throughout the tank, with radiators located on the underside and behind of the tank, which made it more difficult to detect from all but the rear aspect. A final survival measure was the inclusion of a mine plow as a standard piece of equipment. This meant that the Tiger had much less to fear from minefields than previous tanks.
The end result was arguably the best tank in the world, outclassing tanks like the
USA`s Schwarzkopf and Russian designs in raw capability. Although it was too heavy for many
bridges, the Tiger could cross almost any river by simply driving across the bottom. Troops never saw
the lack of a hover or flying capability as a loss. Tanks were supposed to stay on the ground,
not fly above it.
Note: In this respect the Giant Robot designs being popular in many post-Rifts militaries fare even worse: Tanks can crawl or hover on or just above the ground even with weights of up to 80 tons, but 10 meter tall robots are troublesome to armor sufficiently without making them too heavy to even walk. Besides that, big robots make big targets, and tend to be very visible on the battlefield. And to be visible on a battlefield where everyone has missiles and Line Of Sight weapons is to court disaster...
And so the Tiger remained in production throughout the rest of the century, and well into the time of the Rifts. Most already in service survived the coming of the Rifts, to become part of the NGR military. The NGR has begun to replace the Tiger with the XM-330 hovertank only because the secret of the construction of the Bi-Phase Carbide/Durachrome armor was lost in the Gargoyle Empire`s campaign of retribution in 38 P.A.. Even so, Triax scientists are hard at work to re-engineer the armor, and the remaining Tigers are kept in well maintained reserve, in case they should be needed. A possible proposal is to replace the BPC/D armor with Glitter Boy armor, since the manufacture of this armor is now a possibility. At current there are still some 1,200 fully functional Tiger tanks kept in reserve. Though the XM-330 Hovertank is commonly named when laymen are asked about NGR armor, the professionals know better, and although the Tiger is no longer the most numerous tank in the NGR arsenal, it is the one that holds by far the longest service record, and has the most victories on its name.
Note: The stats below are for the most current model of Tiger tank, and reflect the tanks currently in reserve. Any new tanks with the Glitter Armor would have 20% less M.D.C. rating on all locations, but would enjoy the 50% reduction in laser damage of the Glitter Armor.
Model Type: Krauss-Maffei Pzkw XI "Tiger"
Vehicle Type: Heavy Tank
Crew: Three (Driver, Gunner, and Commander).
M.D.C. by Location:
| Tractor Treads (2):||160 each|
| Weapons Turret:||450|
|88 mm Railgun:||200|
|* Turret mounted TX-41 CIWS Laser:||100|
|* 40 mm Co-axial Gauss Cannon:||100|
|* Particle Beam Gun (2):||40 each|
| Medium Range Missile Launcher:||100|
|* Mini-Missile Launcher :||75|
|* Infra-red Laser Jammers (2):||45|
|* Firefly Chaff Launchers (2):||25|
| Mine Plow:||200|
| Aft Radiators:||200|
|Reinforced Crew Compartment:||200|
| Main Body:||900|
* All items marked with a asterisk are small and difficult to strike. They require a called shot, and are -3 to strike.
 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 carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
[2 ]The Weapons turret is unmanned by the crew, and can be destroyed without otherwise damaging the vehicle. This makes the tank very survivable, and it can retreat and have a new weapon turret fitted relatively quickly.
 The launcher is mounted flush with the right side of the turret, and provides a difficult target to hit: Called shots only.
 The Mine Plow will clear a path that is the width of the tank of mines, by simply shoving them aside. Unless a mine is specifically set to explode when moved, most anti-tank mines won't go off when moved with the plow. There simply is not enough pressure or sensory data to do so. The plow cannot be used at speeds over 40 mph (64 km).
 Destroying the radiators means that the tank loses its IR Stealth, but otherwise imposes no penalties. Due to their small size and difficult location, the radiators are -3 to strike, and ONLY on a called shot.
 If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable.
Special: As the tank’s armor is constructed out of a Bi-Phase Carbide and Durachrome laminate, all damage done by directed energy weapons, explosives and kinetic energy weapons is reduced by 25%. Only Plasma does full damage.
Ground: 74.8 mph (120 kph) maximum road speed; 50 mph (80 kph) maximum off-road speed. 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%.
Maximum Range: Unlimited (Nuclear Fusion power supply with 20 year duration)
Height: 10.87 feet (3.26 meters) to top of CIWS turret.
Width: 15.33 feet (4.6 meters)
Length: 36.23 feet (10.87 meters) with mine plow; 32.48 feet (9.9 meters) for just the hull/main body of the tank.
Weight: 91.5 tons (83 metric tons) fully loaded
Power Source: Nuclear fusion reactor; Must be refueled every twenty years, otherwise effectively unlimited.
Cargo Capacity: Minimal, enough for equipment with crew. Extra storage rack on back of turret, seldom used in combat.
Black Market Cost: 20,000,000 Credits was the production price originally; One of the remaining tanks would sell for up to triple that on the black market; Unfortunately the NGR watches them like they are made out of pure gold; Very very poor availability. Plus the NGR would not take kindly to unauthorized persons riding around in one...
- High-velocity 88 mm Railgun: Mounted in the turret, the 88-mm
railgun by Rheinmetall was a marvel of engineering. It fired an APFSDS
round of depleted uranium at hypersonic speeds, and was capable of knocking
out any tank then in existence. It could also fire several other rounds,
such as HEAT, Fragmentation, and Plasma. It was fully gyrostabilised, and with the aid
of laser sighting, laser range finding and the fire control computer, the
gun has a +3 to strike. The cannon can angle from -10 degrees to +35 degrees
up, and the turret can rotate through 360 degrees.
Maximum Effective Range: Direct fire range is 26,000 feet (7,800 meters) with the APFSDS round and 16,667 feet (5,000 meters) for all other rounds. With the help of the rangefinder, radar, and the computer, can fire all rounds indirectly to 49,333 feet (14,800 meters).
Mega-Damage: (APFSDS):4D6x10+40 (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration) Fragmentation: 5D6, blast radius of 40 feet. (HEAT): 2D6x10, blast radius of 10 ft. (PLASMA): 4D6x10, blast radius of 20 ft.
Rate of Fire: Four times per melee.
Payload: 90 gun rounds; Usually 30 APFSDS, 22 Fragmentation, 22 HEAT, and 16 Plasma. All rounds are stored in an Autoloader, and the gunner can select between them at the flick of a switch. An extra Plasma round is usually carried ready to fire in the railgun, so that the tank can respond at once to any situation. Note that any possible mix of rounds can be carried, above is simply the recommended loadout. Reloading the autoloader can be done in five minutes (twenty rounds) by an experienced crew, and double that by an inexperienced crew.
Bonuses: +3 to strike at all times with cannon shells from the laser sight and fire control computer, including when on the move. For indirect long-range fire has a +3 to strike, but only when standing still.
- 40 millimeter Gauss cannon: Mounted to the right of the
main gun. This was essentially equal to the cannon used in the Panther, but being a gauss cannon instead
of a autocannon allowed for more munition in a smaller magazine, due to there being no need for propellants.
The gauss cannon could fire both single shots
or bursts, and had a dual ammunition feed, firing both fragmentation and armor piercing rounds.
The cannon had independant elevation from the Railgun (but still rotated with the turret). Maximum
elevation was 60 degrees, allowing the weapon to be used against flying targets.
Very accurate due to being controlled through
the fire control computer for the main cannon.
Maximum Effective Range: 8,000 feet (2,400 m)
Mega Damage: 6D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 ft and 1D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 ft, burst of 5 rounds does 2D4x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 ft and 3D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 ft.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
Payload: 220 rounds, usually 110 AP, and 110 fragmentation.
Bonuses: Shares the same fire control computer that helps to aim the main cannon. Has +3 to strike and gauss cannon does not have minuses to fire when the tank is moving.
- CIWS TX-41 Pulse Laser: Mounted in a mini-turret at the back of the main turret,
this is sinply a TX-41 pulse laser mounted in a small automated turret, and connected
to the tanks power supply. This is a variable frequency laser with 12 different light
frequencies. The frequency can be changed by the operator, or can be selected by the
computer when it is in automatic (reaching optimal setting against laser refractive armor takes
1D4 rounds on automatic). Setting No. 7 counters the USA-10 Glitter Boy armor.
The pulse laser turret moves independantly from the main turret, and has a 360 degree swiveling
fire-arc and is capable of tracking aerial targets even directly overhead the Tiger. Being linked
into the firecontrol system of the tank gives the laser an improved chance to strike.
Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
Mega Damage: 3D6 per single shot or 1D6x10 per rapid-fire triple pulse (counts as one attack).
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner or 8 attacks when on automatic (shared with the particle beam weapons).
Payload: Effectively unlimited
Bonuses: +2 to strike when manually controlled, or +3 when on computer control.
- Particle Beam Guns (2): Mounted on the sides of the Tiger are two Particle Beam weapons
in a flat ball turret. These are used for defense against personell and as part of the integrated
CIWS system together with the turret mounted pulse laser, although any of the crew members can instantly
override the system and fire (or not!) it himself.
Each ball turret has a firing arc of 180 degrees sideways and up/down.
Maximum Effective Range: 1200 feet (365 m)
Mega Damage: 5D6+6 per blast
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner or 8 attacks when on automatic (shared with the Pulse laser).
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
- Medium Range Missile Launcher: Mounted flush to the
right side of the turret, this launcher holds two Medium Range Missiles. It
fires in the direction that the turret is facing, but the missiles can be programmed
to engage targets all around the tank. The launcher is reloaded from a magazine
within the tanks body.
All missiles are considered to be Smart missiles, and the gunner or the commander usually fired this weapon. Launcher can rotate 360 degrees, and has a elevation of -15 to 90 degrees.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with medium range missile type; Usually plasma are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega Damage: Varies with medium range missile type; Usually plasma are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Two per melee.
Payload: Eight missiles in magazine, plus two in the launcher.
- Sextuple Mini-missile Launcher: Mounted on the left side of the
turret, this weapon was meant to engage enemy vehicles and giant robots. Reloading
of the launcher was automatic. Usually controlled by the tank commander, but the
gunner and the driver can also take control. And like all weapons it could be fired by the
onboard AI, when acting in (semi)independant mode.
The warheads usually carried were Armor Piercing or Plasma.
Maximum Effective Range: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually Armor Piercing are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega Damage: Varies with mini-missile type; Usually AP are carried (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Can fire mini-missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or six (6) mini-missiles per melee round.
Payload: 24 missiles total.
- Infrared Laser Jammers (2): These are jamming devices designed
to stop incoming missiles, though actually the lasers fire wide beams of
IR light at incoming missiles. When an IR guided missile is hit by the
lasers its seeker is blinded.
Effect: Upon firing there is a 50% chance that any IR guided missiles are blinded, and miss the tank. Does 1D6 S.D.C. damage to anyone within the effective radius. Watch out for unprotected eyes!
Rate of Fire: Twice every round.
Maximum Effective Range: Around tank only; Rough distance of 200 ft (60 m) around tank.
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
- Anti-Laser Prismatic Smoke generator: This Generator uses a chemical reactant
to produce a thick anti-laser smoke which is difficult to penetrate, and can obscure
the tank completely.
Effect: Upon activation the tank begins emitting a large cloud of smoke, a Anti-Laser Prismatic aerosol. Anti-Laser prismatic aerosol reduces damage by half for any laser beam striking the tank (With the exception of X-ray lasers but not variable frequency lasers; X-Ray lasers suffer no damage modifiers, and variable frequency lasers simply cannot compensate for the variables involved), and adds a +4 difficulty to targeting the tank with a laser guidance system or visually. Rate of Fire: Usually once every three melee rounds; Effects are not cumulative.
Maximum Effective Range: Around tank only; Rough distance of 80 ft (24 m) around tank.
Payload: Sufficient reactant for twenty clouds.
- Firefly Chaff Launchers (2): Located on the sides of the tank in the box-like
structures just above the tracks. The launchers fire decoys straight up.
this system is designed to confuse incoming missiles. The launchers do this by launching both flares and
active radar decoys. Chaff isn`t actually in use any more, but the name sticks around.
The decoys and the flare rockets float down by parachute; Effects last
for one minute (4 Melee rounds.)
Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate on Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
Maximum Effective Range: Around tank only; Rough distance of 80 ft (24 m) around tank.
Mega Damage: None
- 01-35 - Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed..
36-60 - Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
61-00 - No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
Sensors and special features:
The Tiger has all of the features common to NGR powered armor and tanks except for the following:
- Onboard Artificial Intelligence: A robot brain which was linked into
every part of the tank. Normally it was only in control of the CIWS turrets, but in case of
emergency the AI could replace one or all of the crew members, driving and/or fighting
the tank on its own.
The brain has the following combat bonuses:
8 Actions/attacks per melee TOTAL, +4 on initiative, +3 to strike with all weapons (Smart missiles get their own bonuses), +6 to parry/dodge attacks, impervious to poison, gas, and biological agents, as well as psionics and magic mind control, charms, bio-manipulation, and S.D.C. attacks.
The biggest drawback of the brain is that it is not flexible. It cannot recognize traps early on, has no capability for lateral thinking, and is very single-minded in its reasoning, e.g. it will continue to fight until overcome, with no thoughts about strategic retreats etc.
- Signaal LPI Phased Array Air/Ground Radar: Range of 18 miles (28.87 km); Capable of tracking up to 24 targets simultaneously, this radar serves to guide the Laser CIWS in engaging aircraft (+2 to targeting aircraft and missiles with the Laser CIWS), and providing early warning of incoming aircraft and missile attacks; The radar can be programmed to shut off immediately if it detects an aircraft firing a missile, in case the missile is a radar-homing HARM type. Because the phased arrays emit only thin beams the radar is -10% to be detected. The radar can be used against ground targets with equal effectiveness as against aerial targets.
- Fully stabilized gun sight: A computer aided gunsight with up to x100 magnification and integral laser rangefinder. +3 to strike in direct fire under all conditions, and +3 to strike in indirect fire when standing still.
- Datalink transmitters: A powerful battlefield management communications system. Allows the tank to use targeting data from scout vehicles for firing the Anti-Tank missiles or Sabot rounds, and to provide targeting data to other vehicles. Bonus varies on the quality of the data being provided, but all data would allow the tank to fire over obstacles if the scout vehicle is in the right position. The normal effective battlefield range is 10 miles (16 km).
- Signaal Rapier ESM/ECM system: Combines ESM and ECM into one powerful system. The system can detect another radar system at around 125% of the range of the transmitting radar and is usually subject to radar horizon. When jamming it causes -30% to detection but when it is active, other vehicles/ bases can detect that it is jamming, and some missiles will home in on jamming signals. Jamming also causes a -4 penalty to all radar guided weapons.
- Thermo-Imager: range of 2.6 miles (4.2 km). Finds the infra-red radiations of things that are warm (as in above ambient temperature). Also enables driver to see in smoke, shadows and darkness.
- Two Periscopes: Have up to x100 magnification for commander and driver to view out of while maneuvering the vehicle.
- Nightvision Optics: Range: 3,000 ft (909 m). Uses light amplification to make a picture. Emits no light but will not work in absolute darkness. System can be dazzled by sudden bright lights but does not physically blind the pilot. Note that the system will NOT be blinded by the flashes of the vehicles own weapons, as these are automatically filtered out.
- Laser Targeting/Rangefinder System 15 miles (24.1 km).
- The Tiger is equipped with a special cooling system, which radiates a significant portion of the tanks produced heat towards the ground. This means that the tank is difficult to pick up on passive infra red scanners: -20% on sensor rolls.
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First and second drawings drawn and copyrighted by Talis D. Merrill (email@example.com).
Talis D. Merrill has no art home page at present but many other items on my site.
Third Image drawn and copyrighted by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa).
Mischa has no art home page at present but many other items on my site.
Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa )
Copyright © 2000 & 2002, Mischa. All rights reserved.