|Function||Pull units around, various|
|Brief||Use strong magnets to move objects|
"F---ing magnets, how do they work?"
- - Unofficial motto of the Allied Conference on Soviet Magnetic Weapons, 1967
During the Cold War, one of the most crippling defections from the Allied Nations to the Soviet Union was the one concerning the Canadian-born physist Arthur Leonard Schawlow. Schawlow had been one of the scientists who worked closely on the development of the technology that lead to practical spectrum devices. However, during the winter of 1958, Schawlow and Gordon Gould, a graduate student also working on the development of spectrum technology, fell under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee, who were eagerly continuing their "witch hunt" for communists in the United States. Gould had been a member of the Communist Party USA during the 1940s, and Schawlow was suspected of being a sympathizer as well. Gould, whose membership was well documented, was swiftly convicted of treason in a kangaroo court, his execution averted only due to an Allied ban on the death penalty in member nations just days after his conviction. Though Schawlow escaped conviction himself, he was trailed by government agents near constantly, and the trial left a black mark on his record that was eagerly exploited by his rivals to discredit his work. Whenever he went abroad for conferences, he was trailed by agents, who on one occasion even arrested him to ensure he got back on his plane to the United States. He was also taking in several times over the course of the next two years for question, during which time it is suspected he had been brutalized in an attempt to get information out of him. His family lived in constant fear, watching surveillance vehicles pass outside their home multiple times a day, which also made it impossible to get treatment for their autistic son.
Increasingly frustrated by his unfairly ruined reputation and treatment by the government, the final straw came when a warrant was placed for his arrest for suspected treason due to a letter he sent to a family member, who happened to share a name with a blacklisted individual. So, in Febuary of 1961, gathering what he could from his research, Schawlow and his family took a boat to Cuba and bought passage to the Soviet Union, using his research to gain safe passage. A letter left at his desk indicated he believed that he would be better treated in the Soviet Union and "perhaps he was on the wrong side after all". The Soviet Union embraced Schawlow with open arms, setting him up with a lab in Moscow and a full research team.
However, Schawlow simply did not have enough information to make a functioning spectrum weapon. Unable to focus the beam enough to create a proper weapon, the best Schawlow could do was create a broad channel of ionized air. As this was still a serious step up from current Soviet understanding of optical sciences, the Soviets eagerly poured resources into finding other useful uses for the technology, turning the technology over to the Ministry of Experimental Science for further analysis and research while Schawlow moved onto new research into non-military technologies, such as using the ionizing beam for wireless power transmission (the Soviet Union had developed a philosophy of keeping defected scientists from military projects to minimize the chance of them defecting back out of guilt) It was here that Schawlow's "ionizer beam" met with another branch of Soviet science.
Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov, a physicist working in magnetism and superconductor technologies, had been looking into phenomenon relating to the 1908 Tunguska event. It had been well documented that compasses would cease to work within the hypocenter of the event, and studies indicated that there was a significant magnetic disturbance in the area. In 1960, Abrikosov managed to find the source of the disturbance during a monitoring mission; a six inch shard of superconducting lodestone, a material similar to magnetite but orders of magnitude more powerful. The object had to be dug up with nonmagnetic shovels and was transported in a special aluminum glider towed from a safe distance by an aircraft. However, not long into testing, the shard lost most of its magnetic potential, and would not function until it was "recharged" with an electric current. It had become a priority to reverse engineer this compound as fast as possible in order to create a proper electromagnet, a feat that was accomplished in record time due to the state focusing an unprecedented amount of research onto the device.
The Tunguska sample rapidly rewrote electromagnetic sciences, creating incredible powerful magnetic forces from the barest minimum of current as well as blocking magnetic force entirely in its uncharged state, but its true potential came when it was indicated it may transfer a significant portion of its magnetic force through ionized particles. Digging up Schawlow's ionizer beam prototype, the material (unofficially dubbed Abrikotite, to the annoyance of Abrikosov himself, who wished to name it after Tesla) reacted ideally to the trail of ions, pulling anything caught in the path of the beam with nearly as much force as if it has been placed next to it, and it spread its force naturally along the path of the beam. In its first practical test, it pulled its target, a much hated statue of Stalin which "graced" the entrance to Moscow State University's practical physics lab, nearly a hundred meters from its mount to the device's aperture, though it tragically smashed the prototype. The range of the magnetic weapon was limited to the focusing range of the ionizing beam, which was already more than a kilometre.
Practical Application Edit
Mere weeks after the first successful test, the ionizer beam and Abrikotite electromagnet were incorporated in the JS-4 designs as the so-called "magnetic harpoon", which would allow the massive vehicle to catch pesky enemy vehicles and drag them into the the firing arc. However, combined with the incredible power generation abilities of the "Tesla State", miniaturization was swift to follow. Early magnetic tanks were used in the invasion of Poland to remove steel tank traps and minefields, as well as pull hiding Bulldogs from out of ambush positions, and Hammer tanks were rapidly fitted with their own magnetic harpoon designs to give them an edge over Allied fixed guns. It was this that led to the accidental invention of the leech beam, when engineers in Arkhangelsk Tank Plant's Building 19 first discovered the ionization beam's ability to magnetically charge a target prior to activating the magnet, which would allow the weapon to push or pull on the target. The Hammer tank was subsequently fitted with an array of smaller ionization beams which would charge a portion of the tank opposite of the area under the main beam, rending the armour of the vehicle and pulling it apart. Of course, this would result in pieces of armour and indeed whole weapons sticking to the front of the tank, which tank crews were soon happily welding on increase its combat potential.
Of course, the most famous weapon to use magnetic weaponry remains the "Magnetic Satellite", a massive orbiting device assembled over a three year period from 1961 to 1964. The huge device, anchored above the Earth by repelling off its magnetic field and powered by its own Super Reactor refueled by a dedicated rocket service, contains the single largest Abrikotite electromagnet in existence. Once fully charged, the "MagSat" can pull vehicles, weapons, and anything magnetic straight off the ground and into space. The weapon is so completely insane that its existence was actively denied by Allied officials for several months despite overwhelming evidence due to the supposed impossibility of the design. Allied tank crews are well known for driving with their hatches open so they can detect the telltale smell of ozone that indicates the magnetic satellite charging up, and would abandon their vehicle at the smallest sign the weapon might be active. Allied High Command was quick to issue tank crews specially made parachutes and new uniforms with non-magnetic belt buckles and helmets in order to keep morale up.
The easy accessibility and availability of powerful magnets have led to creation of unauthorized contests where Soviet technicians use magnets to solve impossible problems while drunk. Most of the participants end up in a Gulag if they don't die first from accidents.