* * * O P E R A T I O N : D R A G O N S L A Y E R * * * [link]
The Proletarian was the most successful heavy mech fielded by the Soviets in WWII; a pivotal weapon whose appearance late in the war was yet another signal for the 3rd Reich that the end was nigh. Just as the name “Tiger” embodied terror for Allied soldiers fighting in Western Europe, the “Big Red”, as the Proletarian was tagged, spelled doom for German soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front. Despite the higher cost of heavy mech production (compared to highly capable medium mechs) impressive numbers of units produced were a great help in exploiting the momentum which the Red Army had achieved in their late war surge onto German soil.
The Proletarian program was developed as the Russian’s counter to Germany’s excellent heavy mechs, such as the Siegfried. The Big Red could go toe to toe against the best of Germany’s anthro-mechs without any fear of technological inferiority. Although the standard Proletarian was generally less lavished with special equipment, such as the Siegfried’s night vision systems and highly advanced optics, it’s crowning feature was overall efficiency of design, which has numerous advantages, such as ease of maintenance and much lower production cost.
In the Proletarian, Russian engineers brought to bear all of the lessons learned from the rapid evolution of mechs throughout the war, and incorporated the best features of various models from all sides of the conflict:
-A very high waist-turret ring limits stress inflicted on rotation and suspension mechanisms, while also enabling superior turning speed and agility.
-An engine block seated low in the pelvic area for stability and lower center of gravity.
-Plentiful cast armor sections with great thickness and protection where it’s needed most.
- Above average balance of heavy armor and mobility.
-Exceptional cooling outlets in the lower body, thanks in part to the bulky thigh assembly; Previous attempts to situate engine ventilation under the pelvic block proved to be vulnerable to AM (anti-mech) infantry, but in this case the mech’s massive thighs offered much better protection.
-Full 360 degree waist rotation, without compromise to balance or stability... a true rarity among WWII mechs. Especially one so heavy.
-Combining superior agility and melee performance w/ heavy armor means the Proletarian is formidable against opposing armor at any range.
-A blast shield is housed within the Proletarian’s bulbous head wear and can be lowered instantly to protect it’s optic systems, either when taking fire, or launching shoulder projectiles w/ harmful exhaust.
Despite it’s many outstanding qualities, the Proletarian was not without imperfection. In classic Russian armor form, the simplified construction and spartan design aesthetic left few creature comforts for the crew. The Proletarian had the distinction of being WWII’s foremost heavy mech with the very least amount of headroom and crew space. A sacrifice the designers were content to make in order to accommodate such a flat hull section. The Proletarian's design gave so little consideration to human convenience that when the mech first shipped, crewmen found themselves at a total loss as to the appropriate methods for entering and exiting the vehicle. In fact, a last-minute rush was made to procure and supply massive quantities of crude compactible rope ladders for this very reason. Like most late-war heavy mechs, The Big Red also lacked a rear platform or ‘gunners nest’. Instead, opting for a hull which extends far to the rear in the fashion of a tank turret’s ammo cradle, with an upper hatch giving access to an externally mounted heavy anti-air machine gun.
Though it may have been lacking in luxuries for it’s crew, the Proletarian was generally much appreciated by those who manned it, ever grateful to even the playing field against Germany’s most dreaded armor, both tracked and legged.
The model depicted here is armed thusly:
Right hand -85mm cannon + coaxial 7.62mm MG
Left hand -RED STAR mech mace
Hull -7.62mm MG
Rear hull (exterior) -DShK machine gun.
Original schematic sketch: [link]
Many thanks to those friends who helped me w/ critical WIP feedback on this guy.
Textures and background elements from CG textures.com
** T-34/85 image is a photo retouching. The original photo was posted by ‘timsytanker’ at G503.com: [link]
very cool site for WWII buffs.