Icarus Industries M9 Combat Car (Hammer's Slammers):

Among the most powerful mercenary companies in existence, Hammer's Slammer is lead by Colonel Alois Hammer. Military Bearing and Polish is not an important part of his private army, which has lead many to misjudge his forces, but they are among the best trained and equipped troops in the galaxy. It is said that when other armies are parading, the Hammer's Slammers are fighting. Officers are expected to lead from the front and share most of the risks of the common trooper. Less powerful than the main hover tank operated by Hammer's Slammers, the combat car is still an incredibly deadly weapon. In most military actions, the combat car is operated in larger numbers than hover tanks. Civilians and sometimes even other military leaders often consider them tanks. Other combat vehicles operated by Hammer's Slammers include mobile 200 mm howitzers and combat hover jeeps. Like tanks, combat cars are often given unusual names by their crews.

The same manufacturer, Icarus Industries, who also produces the Hammer's Slammers hover tank, produces the Combat Car as well. The main officer and factory for the company is located in Hamburg, Terra. While not quite as expensive as hover tanks, the Combat Cars are not cheap and many companies consider them simply too expensive or simply cannot afford them. Still, the Combat Cars combine speed, mobility, good firepower, and reasonable armor.

Not as well armored as a true tank, the Combat Cars are well protected with ceramic and iridium composite armor. This armor has excellent properties against most energy weapons. The driver is fully enclosed although he has a hatch that he can open above his compartment. The rear compartment is open although the sides are well protected. One meter above the open compartment is a splinter shield made from beryllium mesh. The splinter shield is only designed to stop shell fragments and mortar rounds or grenades, nothing more. While some consider this to be a poor idea, when viewed in context it makes sense. The concept is anything which is small enough or close enough to be tossed in at the top should be stopped by the splinter shield and anything heavier should be knocked down by the Combat Car's and other units' air defense systems. By itself, the Combat Cars point defense is generally insufficient. Often crews will carry personal gear above the combat compartment is the mesh. Of course, destroying a section of the skirt under the Combat Car will ground the armored vehicle. It is well armored and it is hard to hit while the vehicle is moving. In the hull of the Combat Car are twelve armored fans and it takes the destruction of multiple fans to prevent the vehicle from moving, although the destruction of a single fan will reduce speed and maneuverability.

The Combat Car has a much higher lift to mass ratio than the hover tank and can hover up to about a meter from the ground to clear terrain. It can also reach speeds up to 120 kilometers per hour but can handle much rougher terrain easily than the hover tank. Other advantages include the ability to hover over open water and the Combat Car is much easier to pilot than the hover tank. Power is provided by a fusion power plant that is located deep within the hull of the Combat Car.

The Combat Car is designed for a crew of four with a driver and three gunners. One of the gunners usually acts as the vehicle's commander. The Combat Car does not utilize as powerful an artificial intelligence as a Hover Tank but the system is still very effective. The artificial intelligence can control the Combat Car's various guns and can advice the crew on their best course of action. Guns can also be slaved together if one of the gunners becomes a casualty. The driver has extensive sensor systems with the three gunners having still effective but more limited sensors. The Combat Car carries a full array of sensors including Radar, Infra-red Sensors, Ultra-violet Sensors, Light Enhancing Optics, highly sensitive sound amplification systems including ground penetrating sonar, and Neutrino to detect other vehicles powered by reactors although systems generally have a reduced range. As important as the advanced sensors is that the vehicles operated by Hammer's Slammers have data link systems to allow a virtual free flow of information. The driver of the Combat Car has full life support systems but the crew in the fighting compartment has to rely on personal gear.

For weaponry, the Combat Car mounts three 2 cm Tri-barrel Power gun inside the fighting compartment. While not as powerful as the heavy power gun carried on a Hover Tank, the three cannons can cover a lot more volume. One is mounted to fire forward and the other two fire to the sides. The weapons work by the same principles as the main weapon of the M2 tank but is a Gatling type weapon to prevent the barrels from overheating. Power guns fire cartridges holding copper-cobalt atoms in a polyurethane matrix that are converted into plasma when fired. This plasma travels at the speed of light and while it does not penetrate deeply, it does immense damage. As a result of their incredible speed, the plasma bolts have an extremely flat trajectory. The Combat Cars carry several thousand rounds for the Tri-Barrel power guns with the rear floor of the vehicle usually covered in ammo boxes for the three tri-barrels. An armored splinter shield protects each Tri-barrel mount. Explosive strips similar to the modern claymore mines protect the Combat Car. These strips are normally activated by the computers artificial intelligence. Finally, the Combat Car is fitted with a special mine clearing device which is slightly smaller than the system carried on the Hover Tank and is manually controlled. It uses an 8 cm tri-rocket mortar that fires an explosive net up to 300 meters and can cover an area up to 200 meters long and 10 meters wide. The Combat Car only carries one anti-mine net but usually multiple Combat Cars operate together.

Icarus Industries has developed an upgrade for the Combat Car to make it more combat effective. Due to additional armor, the mass is increased to almost 50 metric tons. One place where the Combat Car mounts additional armor in the form of a solid steel/iridium sandwich splinter shield is above the crew compartment.

The number of fans is reduced from twelve to eight. These new fan units are more powerful "high bypass" fans which are larger than the ones they replace and give being more power (to deal with the additional mass and keeping the performance about equal), reduced maintenance, and quieter running. In addition to the upgrade kit for the Combat Car, there is a command version of the Combat Car, several support vehicle designed based on the Combat Car, and a couple of tank destroyer designs based on the Combat Car.

Model Type: M9 Combat Car
Vehicle Type: Combat Hover Craft
Crew: Four (Driver and Three Gunners).

M.D.C. By Location:Standard Version:Upgraded Version:
Tri-Barrel Splinter Shield:100 each120 each
2 cm Tri-Barrel Power Gun (3, Fighting Compartment):75 each75
Mine Clearing Net Launcher:5050
Fighting Compartment Splinter Shield:20200
[1] Fan Ducts (12 or 8 - Sides of Hull):120 each (12 total)200 each (8 total)
[1] Armored Skirts:200300
Pilots Compartment150200
Driver Hatches (1 - Top of Forward Hull)100150
[2] Main Body:500700

[1] These targets are difficult targets to hit and are a -3 to strike. If one Fan duct is destroyed, the top speed of the combat car is reduced by 20% and the vehicle has a -1 to dodge. If the skirt takes over 50% damage then reduce speed by 25% with a -2 to dodge and if the skirt takes 75% damage then reduce speed by speed by 50% with a -4 to dodge. Destruction of four Fan Ducts or the armored skirt will ground the combat car. Skirt damage can be temporarily repaired by simply placing a piece of plastic or flexible metal inside of the holes.
[2] Destruction of the main body will cause the vehicle to crash. All systems will not function. All energy weapon hits on the main body, the turret, or the main cannon are reduced by half due to the refractive properties of the iridium armor.

Hover Speed: Can hover at ground level at from a hover to up to 74.6 mph (120 kph) over paved surfaces and over level ground. It can also travel up to 37.3 mph (60 kph) over rough terrain. The combat car can hover over open water at up to maximum speed. The combat car has a maximum hover altitude of 3.2 feet (1 meter).
Maximum Range: Effectively unlimited (Fusion reactor with a 10 year duration)

Statistical Data:
Height: 9.5 feet (2.9 meters) to top of splinter shield
Width: 9.8 feet (3.0 meters) for hull
Length: 23.0 feet (7.0 meters) for hull
Weight: Normal Version: 33.1 tons (30 metric tons) fully loaded. Up-Armored Version: 55.1 tons (50 metric tons)
Power Source: Fusion power plant (10 year duration)
Cargo Capacity: The Combat Car has only a small storage space for crew. This includes weapons, armors, and emergency supplies. The crew usually store additional gear and cargo above the fighting compartment in the splinter shield.
Market Cost: Normal Version: 15 million credits. Up-Armored Version: 20 million credits

Weapon Systems:

  1. Pintle Mounted 2 cm Tri-Barrel Power Guns (3): The combat car mounts three tri-barrel cannons in the fighting compartment with one forward and one on either side. The guns are useful against other vehicles, infantry, and aircraft. The can rotate up to 180 degrees and can elevate up to 80 degrees. The cannons fire plasma round at the speed of light using polyurethane cartridges holding copper-cobalt atoms. The weapon rotates between three barrels to reduce barrel wear. The cannon can be controlled by the gunner / commander or can be computer controlled. The cannon is usually computer controlled when being used in air defense mode (4 shots per melee / +3 to strike) and can shoot down anti-tank missiles such as "Buzz Bombs." The tri-barrels can also be computer controlled if a crew member has been disabled.
    Maximum Effective Range: 4.8 miles (8 km)
    Mega-Damage: 10 round bursts inflict 3D4x10 (counts as one blast/attack). Single shot inflicts 6D6+4 per round.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to Gunners' Hand to Hand Attacks.(Under computer control can fire up to 4 bursts per melee)
    Payload: 500 rounds in ready magazine for each mount with an additional 6,000 rounds in the body of the tank itself.
    Bonuses: Has a special fire control computer that helps to aim the cannon. Gives +3 to strike with the power gun and vehicle does not have minuses to fire when combat car is moving.
  2. Claymore Type Anti-Personnel Mines (20): Mounted on the sides of the Combat Car, these charges are designed to protect the tank from attacking personnel and can also be detonated to protect the tank against attacking missiles. Five charges are located on each side of the vehicle. In may ways, the weapon system should be considered a last ditch system. Basically, they detonate at the last minute to protect the tank from the missiles. The system is normally controlled by the computer but can also overridden by the vehicle's crew.
    Maximum Effective Range: a cone 50 feet (15 meters) long and 30 feet (9 meters) wide.
    Mega-Damage: 6D6 for targets 30 feet and further away, 1D4x10 for targets closer than that.
    Rate of Fire: One at a time.
    Payload: 20.
    Special: Uses the onboard Artificial Intelligence computer to identify friend or foe, and fire the mines. Computer has a skill of 75%.
  3. Mine Clearing Net Charge: In the bow of the Combat Car is a manually controlled mine clearing device. The system launches three 8 cm rocket mortar rounds which drags an explosive mesh 'net' with a range of around 300 meters. The net can cover a width of five to ten meters. The net will clear a path of around 200 meters deep starting about 100 meters from the front of the tank. The net is detonated which clears a mine free path in the front of the vehicle. The mine clearing system is almost completely effective at clearing mines.
    Maximum Effective Range: Covers an area from 328 feet (100 meters) in front of the tank to 974 feet (300 meters) from the tank. Covers a width of 16 feet (5 meters) to 32.8 feet (10 meters)
    Mega-Damage / Effects: Inflicts 2D6 to all targets within the blast area of the net. Also has a 90% of clearing all of the mines within the blast area.
    Rate of Fire: Single Shot
    Payload: One (Must be manually reloaded)

Special Systems:
The Combat Car has all systems standard on a robot vehicle (Radar / UV / IR) plus the following special features::
(Note that all optical systems are distributed over the hull through fiberoptics. There are no viewslits or visible cameras.)

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[ Hammer's Slammers is Trademarked and Copyrighted by David Drake. ]

Image is drawn and copyrighted by Talis D. Merrill (taalismn@pop.tiac.net).

Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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