Confederate Lee AA Half-Track
|Sd.Kfz. 500.t Whippet Taifun "Lee" AA Half-Track|
|Some Lees providing AA cover for a Confederate battlegroup|
|Minor Faction(s)||National Revolutionary Army|
|Unit Type||Armoured Truck|
|Designation||Anti Air/Anti Infantry|
|Production Building||Vehicle Warehouse|
|Secondary Ability||Balloon Mines|
Creates a highly visible anti-aircraft minefield
|Heroic Upgrade||Incendiary Ammunition (adds Afterburn)|
|Dev. Status||In Game|
"Now that's a true American lightshow!"
- - Lee gun operator downing a Century Bomber, unaware of the irony.
- Dang Kids and Them Flying Machines! Though it dates back to WWII, the Lee is still quite good at its job, which is to shoot down aircraft. It can also be used against infantry with decent results, though it shouldn't be expected to fare well against much else. Thanks to stolen radar scramblers, the Lee is also cloaked while not moving or shooting.
- Get Off My Lawn! The Lee is also armed with another weapon; balloon mines. These mines can provide a highly visible obstacle to aircraft, leading them into traps or simply serving to blow them up.
- Ow, My Back! While versatile, the Lee's guns are weaker than the advanced AA platforms fielded by other factions and are ineffective against heavy air. As a result, attempting to ambush a Mesofortress is usually a very bad idea (unless there are a lot of Lees).
- Take That, You Whippersnappers: Some Lees have managed to get their hands on incendiary ammunition, which has a tendency to set their targets on fire, at least until the targets manage to put the fires out.
BackgroundOne of the most numerous and under-appreciated vehicles of the Second World War was the Whippet half-track, a rugged and dependable half-track originally produced in Germany for their own army to get around post-war armour restriction, but swiftly licensed to the rest of the Allied powers and manufactured worldwide. Because of the treaty restrictions on Germany, when the nation remilitarized in the late 1930s it took full advantage of whatever loopholes it could (as well as outright ignored certain restrictions either secretly, or essentially daring the Entente to do something about it). Though the treaty placed harsh limits on manpower and outright banned tanks, there were no provisions regarding light combat vehicles or armoured cars, weapons that had proved mostly useless during the First World War. Germany thus produced these machines with abandon, using whatever unusual configuration of locomotive systems struck their fancy to bypass the ban on caterpillar tracks. After experimentation with wheels, air cushions, and even early walkers, the German government officially backed half-tracked designs. In addition to the advantages in power and all-terrain capability the half-track held, the vehicle could be driven by anyone with knowledge of the operation of automobiles, cutting down training time, and allowed the Germans to build up the industry related to tank engine, suspension, and track production. In the event of war, conscripts with minimal training could drive the half-tracks, while factories could easily be switched to manufacture the new panzers being designed in secret.
The Germans developed a great many half-tracked designs prior to the war; by 1945, nearly every vehicle the Wehrmacht officially possessed was some form of tracked hybrid, including motorcycle-like designs, staff cars, and even a bulldozer. Of these many, varied designs, by far and away the most common was the Sd.Kfz. 500 series, which was something between a truck and an armoured car. Endlessly flexible, the machine could be used in any role one could think of, armed with any weapon that would fit on the chassis, and operated with ease. Like with their Kar 98 rifle, the Germans stockpiled a massive number of the vehicles, far more than their tiny army could hope to operate; thus, if war broke out, they could field them as fast as they expanded their ground forces. The huge number of these vehicles meant that for the first years of the war, they were omnipresent on the front; the German government gave them away by the thousands to any infantry force in need of mechanization, meaning that soon every nation in the young Alliance was well versed in their use. Soon, other countries were manufacturing them, under the "Whippet" name based on a nickname given to it by Kaiser Louis Ferdinand von Hohenzollern himself, simply due to the familiarity and good reputation they had.
The Whippet was a tremendously versatile chassis, and variants served as troop carriers, anti-aircraft vehicles, artillery support, direct fire support, ambulances, engineering vehicles, powerful towing machines, and much, much more. After the war, the Whippet was retired from mainline Allied military service in favour of more specialized vehicles like the Riptide and Multigunner designs, but the dependable half-tracks continue to serve in the Allied Reserves across the world, mostly in non-combat roles.
The United States, on the other hand, mothballed most of its Whippet fleet and stored them in the Boneyard, favouring its home grown Ranger design instead. As a result, most of the Whippets interred in the Boneyard were the anti aircraft variant, one of the few Whippet designs the Americans admitted was superior to the attempt at a similar Ranger design. Of course, after the Third World War, it only meant that the Boneyard was a one stop shop for Confederates looking for mechanised and armoured equipment. The rebels rebranded the German machines Lee Half-Tracks, and stole them in great numbers in preparation for dealing with the Allies' feared air power.
The Lees aren't quite the same as the Whippets used during the Second World War, however. Whippet crews had complained of the tracks' hard and uncomfortable seats from the opening days of the war, and the first modification the rebels made was to replace the seats with recliner chairs donated by local furniture stores and bolt them to the floor. The second modification was to install sophisticated electronic countermeasure equipment smuggled out of various Sprawls by Ayn Rand's Objectivist Coalition. Developed in the Sprawls to make gang vehicles invisible to Syndicate eyes in the skies above, the "scramblers", as the less technologically savvy rebels have taken to calling them, proved just as useful for combating Allied air power. Finally, the Confederates have also taken to using Lees as platforms for deploying so called balloon mines--devices which consist of a high explosive bomb designed for maximum fragmentation, a crude proximity detector, and a literal balloon. Generally, these are obvious enough for pilots to spot and avoid them, so the Confederates have taken to using them with other anti-air weapons as well.
Today, Allied airmen may scoff at the idea that relics from the Second World War could possibly be a threat to the famed Allied air squadrons of today, but the steady rise in aircraft losses over the United States is its own testament to the skill and determination of Lee crews.
Behind the Scenes
This unit is most likely based on the German Opel Blitz variant, the sdKfz 4.
Blue China Whippet Half-Track
|Sd.Kfz. 500 "Whippet" Half-Track|
|Minor Faction||Allied Reservists|
|Other Faction(s)||Confederate Revolutionaries|
|Production Building||Command Centre|
|Secondary Ability||Disembark Passengers|
|Heroic Upgrade||Browning MG|
• Line Fire
• Increased suppression
- Mechanical Packhorses: The Blue Chinese use their surplus of Whippets as infantry transports, carrying soldiers into battle.
- Watch their Bite: Additionally, each Whippet is armed with a MG 34 machine gun that can chew through both infantry and helicopters.
- Medical Supplies: The extra storage space in the Whippet's hull is filled with first-aid kits and other medical supplies, healing infantry near the half-track when it's stationary.
- Sharpened Teeth: Salvaged Browning machine guns can usually be mounted on Whippets without much difficulty. Compared to the MG 34, the M2 is even more effective at keeping the enemy's head down and is particularly effective with full-metal jacket rounds, capable of tearing through groups of infantry.
Before the Bombs
As the Whippet began to be phased out of frontline service by the arrival of the Retriever APC and the propagation of proper battle tanks, the excess vehicles were siphoned off for other fronts, namely Korea and China. Prior to the war, the Germans were largest backers of the National Revolutionary Army, and they had provided the Blue Chinese with the designs for the Whippet before the war had broken out. Thus, between locally manufactured versions and the influx of European surplus, the Whippet became the backbone of the Allied-backed forces in China.
One of the reasons the Whippet was, and continues to be so widely used in former China is that its all terrain capabilities combined with the ease of manufacture and operation made it perfect for the large-scale warfare in the mountain passes. Unlike a wheeled truck or car, it steadfastly refused to be bogged down in the mud of a trench front, where it can transport large numbers of men or heavy loads of equipment without becoming stuck or slowed. The machine's trailer hook also made it useful for pulling artillery guns into position, vital for a military that relied so heavily on fixed defences.
So versatile was the Half-Track that, even as conditions worsened and the Blue Chinese turned to more desperate measures to survive and fight their hated enemy, it still continued to see service in almost every conceivable role one could think of. Soldiers and abominations of Democratic science alike were transported to and from ever-more fortified complexes and trenches, artillery guns mounted with increasingly exotic and desperate weapons of warfare continued to see service pulled behind Whippet tracks, and long lines of Whippets carrying war munitions and defensive supplies to the front lines could be seen stretch along every Blue Chinese road in China. But they too felt the effects of the war as well.
Whippets began to counterattack Red Chinese armoured columns. Though their machinegun fire merely bounced off the Communist's tank armour, the Whippets were in truth nothing less than suicide bombers, the drivers welding themselves inside their vehicles before driving their half-tracks loaded full of explosives into their former countrymen. Others filled the backs of their vehicles with chemical warheads, biological weapons, or even - in the final days - nuclear weapons before making their final run. In the end, however, even the versatile Whippet, that had served Democratic China so well for all its service with the nation, wasn't enough.
After the Bombs
Despite the Chinese Civil War, despite the nuclear rain, and despite the best efforts of both the Atomic Kingdom and the Communist Party of China, there still exist many Whippets in the lands that once belonged to the Blue Chinese. Stored in reserve armouries, halted in long lines along the roads when their drivers abandoned them, or slowly rusting on the front lines - Whippets aplenty continue to scatter the former Chinese landscape, ripe for the taking.
And while the Red Chinese prefer to stick to their well-armoured Gatling Crawlers and Battlemasters for (relatively) quick transportation across the wastelands, and the Atomic Kingdom use their Mobile Garrisons to ward off the radioactive exterior, the new Blue Chinese warlords are more than content to take their once-used all-purpose machines and press them back into service.
It is thus that Whippets continue to see use in the feudal holdings of the warlords in much the same way that horses were once used in previous centuries - and, since there are any number of the half-tracks left to use compared to a much lower percentage of usable farm animals, their use is well-founded. Whippets once more prowl the cracked and ruined roadways, transporting weapon emplacements to the outskirts of their master's kingdom or supplies and reinforcements to soldiers stationed all along the watchtowers that enforce kingdom borders.
They even ply the roads between kingdoms, offering tithes to larger, more powerful warlords or attempting to open trade and diplomatic channels. And, in much the same way as knights did in the days of yesteryear, Whippets are also used directly in combat.
Crewed by relatively young and loyal squires to the Mastiff 'knights', they use their machine guns to ward off hostile infantry or mutated things while going about their duties - usually transporting men or machines about the battlefield. The drivers, though they too feel the horror of the war and their new surroundings, are nonetheless very eager in combat - for once they prove themselves, they may one day perhaps be able to crew a Mastiff and fight as a full warrior for the (insert kingdom name here) of New China!
National Revolutionary Army
|Infantry||Nationalist • National Garrison|
|Vehicles||Whippet Half-Track • Mastiff Medium Tank • Bulldog Tank Destroyer • Retriever Mortar Tank|
|Fire Support||Vickers Machine Gun • 17 Pound Gun • Silkworm Missile Post|
|Indian Reservists Reinforcements||Indian Defender • DUKW • Crocodile Hovertank • Cutlass Ramjet • Shortbow Helicopter|
|Detailed Information||Chinese Civil War • Blue Chinese Characters|