In part 2 of this series, I briefly mentioned the historical war wagon.  The Karadenians took the design in one direction, but the Arcadians took it in another, marrying it to both the steam train and the line of battle with an invention called the Locomotive Fort.

Armoured trains make formidable mobile fortresses, and can clear out an area quickly to safely deploy troops.  However, they are confined to the rail lines themselves.  Trenches take a long time to dig, and trench warfare is unsuitable for large, open areas where the fronts can move rapidly.  In order to block as large an area as possible, the Arcadians decided to build mobile fortresses based on armoured train cars.  The result was this:

Locomotive fort train closed

Six gunners with small arms can lie prone and shoot out of the upper gunports, while the sides of the cars open up to reveal larger guns (typically 12-pounders) or to rapidly deploy troops to the battlefield.  Deployed, the train looks like this:

Locomotive fort train open

The two middle “cars” are troop transports, and can comfortably carry two platoons each.  Note that none of these loco forts can be called cars in a railroad context for the simple reason that, although they are linked, they are all self-propelled.  If the need arises, the loco forts can disconnect and move on their own, such as if they need to beat a hasty retreat.  The Arcadian forces typically put more than four units in an off-road train in an effort to keep their forces together for as long as possible.  Depending on the circumstances, this could be a good tactic or a bad one.  Over long distances across level ground, it certainly kept troops fresh, and gave the Arcadian Army greater mobility than ever before.

Two more prominent variants were eventually introduced as well.  These were the tanker loco fort, which could carry kerosene for other vehicles accompanying the train, and the 12-inch self-propelled howitzer.

Although it was a huge target and not particularly well-armoured, especially compared to later land battleships, the locomotive fort was very popular with Arcadian soldiers.  There was plenty of room to work both above and below, operation was simple, and it was, overall, a fairly cushy assignment.  Since the loco forts could not traverse particularly difficult terrain, they stayed a fair distance from the heat of battle.  Once the train reached the deployment site, there might be susbtantial resistence, but after that, the crew largely sat around and waited while the infantry pushed on ahead.  Only evacuation missions were particularly dreaded, since anything could happen and one of the loco forts had a good chance of getting left behind.

Below are two views inside one of the open loco forts:

Locomotive fort train detailLocomotive fort inside

And a comparison to the other Rossberan tanks I’ve designed so far.  The one at the very bottom is the second variant of the Karadenian sand crab:

Locomotive fort comparison

This one will be available in my Shapeways shop soon.  I’ve decided to include removable panels with the 12-lb guns so that customers can configure the loco fort as either a gun battery or an APC.


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