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December 14, 2011
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Sieglinde Ausf. by Rob-Cavanna Sieglinde Ausf. by Rob-Cavanna
Rough color concept for "Operation: Dragon Slayer" [link]

The Pzf III Sieglinde first appeared in the early 1940s, ushering a quantum leap in German walking panzer design as they goose stepped under Brandenburg Gate. Beyond a considerable increase in stature and technical sophistication from the preceding Pz I Alberich and Pzf II Mime, the new Pzf IIIs bore a far more anthropomorphic design aesthetic. The Sieglinde's mimicry of German foot soldiers, culminating in an absurd Stahlhelme styled head, was originally intended only for purposes of military pageantry and the hyperbolic spectacle of Nazi rallies. But when the Fuhrer laid eyes on the first, more practically designed combat models, he was incensed, demanding that the Sieglinde's inaugural parade fittings would be made standard throughout all further production models. Despite the nervous explanation of Pzf manufacturers that the parade models had purely superficial features such as nonfunctional fingers (with cannon's welded directly to the Sieglinde's arms) Hitler would not be placated by anything less than the materialization of his new vision; an army of fully articulated giant soldiers.

And so it was, after an intense crash course for Pzf industrial firms in applying advanced mechanical theory, that the German army would begin to mass produce walking panzers of highly fanciful design. Despite the obvious impracticality of such war machines, the Sieglinde's anthropomorphized appearance was a distinguishing feature which was destined to be imitated by almost every subsequent walking armor design to appear in WWII. Not to be outdone by his ally, Mussolini also demanded that all Italian walking talks be designed w/ similar considerations to stylization and military pomp. The fact that Italian designs were even more technologically challenged and blithely useless than the first German models, did not stop them from going so far as to embellish the helmets of some with huge feathered plumes.

Short of donning actual Romanesque crest to their walking tanks, the Allied powers did in fact follow suit with increasingly anthropomorphic models. Manipulating the industrial might of Russia to his whim was a far easier task for Stalin than it was for the US Chief of Staff George Marshall to sway Congress towards dedicating mass military resources towards, what was essentially, following in the footsteps of madness. His herculean efforts were largely alleviated by a surge of public support following a Times Square parade of M-1 helmet totting giant GI's. The mere presence of these newer more relatable titans in American propaganda posters, contrasting those terrifying Nazi newsreel monsters, was enough to inspire an overwhelming nation-wide increase in war bond purchases.

The Sieglinde effectively introduced what would be the standard layout for most walking tanks to follow;
-Arms and legs capable of simulating most basic human movements.
-Engine situated in the lower waist section bellow the waist ring.
-Crew of at least 3 men crammed into the upper hull/torso, including, minimally, a driver, gunner, and commander.
-Rear exit hatch/point of entry.
-A humanized head with clever optics systems conveyed via periscope to the commander's seat directly bellow.
-Complex analog computers for calibrating various hand weapon types to the gunner's sights offset in the hull.

Being one of the first pioneers in this new era of warfare did not exempt the Sieglinde from a colorful history of teething troubles. All manner of technical issues were encountered on various fronts; from sand fouling joint-works in the Libyan desert, to freezing weather completely disabling optic systems on the Russian steppe. From the very start, Sieglinde's original 37mm hand weapons, direly outranged by larger Allied guns, and insufficient for penetrating formidable armor specimens like the French Charlemagne, were limited in size by the max carrying capacity of it's primitive joint construction and mechanical articulation. The basic design, however, like the Panzer III with which it shares a numerical designation, was well suited to a program of continuous improvement. From the Ausf. J version onward, the Pzf III was capable of arming a much more powerful 5 cm high velocity gun, though even this was nearing a state of ineffectiveness by the time of it's implementation. Late Sieglinde models could even accommodate a low-velocity 7.5cm HE gun on their shoulder mounts, but suffered dramatically limited movement in terms of elevation/depression and traverse compared to cannons equipped by hand. That it was already rendered definitively obsolescent by superior Allied designs (such as the seminal Russian Kirov) in the early 1940s, didn't prevent the Pzf III Sieglinde from continuing service as a support vehicle for larger newer Pzfs on all fronts up to the final months of the war.
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scorp106 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
in the production of a very complex, and weapons just 1 machine gun?
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
It'll have weapons in its hands.
Wastelander7 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
NICE! And the torso ring is well protected under the armored skirt! Nice touch! I take it it uses hand held weapons for dealing with armored foes.

The following is just me thinking out loud:

If you added some auto-loading mortars on the sloped armor to the rear of the arms it would add to the machine's utility. (just a thought, not a criticism) Another random thought: if you put a recoilless rifle on the turret looking over the "shoulder" it could be slaved to the commander's optics in the head. If it took a hit and catoed, the machine could carry on with minor repairs.

I love the ladder and crew hatch in the back! That is a very good design feature. Even if the machine is knocked on it's backside, the crew can still get out. (that is a design feature sadly missing on a lot of mecha designs, as if the machine falls the wrong way, the crew is trapped and helpless)

Does it have a roll up chain ladder to get the crew up to the first rung? Or a retracted solid ladder under the skirt? Or does it kneel for the crew to load up? If it's the latter there will have to be some kind of extension mechanism for the forward part of the foot so it can rotate the 70-80 degrees necessary to kneel.

None of this is criticism, just me throwing a few ideas into the mix. Great work as always! :D
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
Thanks for the comments, Mike! Yes, hand weapons and possibly shoulder mounted ones for dealing w/ armor.

-there is a certain type of German internal grenade launcher/mortar thingy with a very long and bizarre name that escapes me right now. But I believe it was used as a defensive anti-infantry weapon on some Tigers. I wonder if that would do the trick.

-are you suggesting something like a predator-style shoulder mounted recoilless rifle?

-Didn't think about how the hull shape keeps the crew from being trapped in that regard, but good of you to notice. It probably also would prevent it from ever being knocked flat on it's back -would likely roll to the side. In which case, if it were still functional, might be able to get back on it's feet unassisted. Maybe not.

-On other mechs, that rear hatch might indeed get blocked in a knock-down scenario, if the rear platform isn't sturdy enough to support the weight. But, most probably have at least one upper hatch as an alternative, fore or aft of the head ring. Some might even have a door under the arms (bellow the armpit).

-A chain or rope ladder would be desirable carryon for any crew. Short of that, a knotted rope is better than nothing. But Sieglinde is more crew friendly than most in terms of mounting and dismounting. From kneeling position, the skirt on the lower 2 models is almost low enough for spry crewmen to shimmy up the rungs on the back. But a short retractable extension underneath is possible. Since the bottom SS version is a premium custom model, I think the under-skirt ladder could extend almost all the way to ground level. A nice convenience for the pampered female commander. On the top DAK version, with no rear skirt protection, you can see how the short ladder extension retracts directly into the tail end. Only long enough for kneeling mounts tho. By necessity, I imagine that most crews become very good climbers after a short time in action. They might even weld on supplementary foot and handholds depending on what is convenient for them.

-Yeah, most mechs would want to have a kneeling function for tactical utility as well as crew loading needs. This isn't obvious at all the way most of them are designed. But the functionality would have to somehow be there in the engineering of the foot.

-On a side note, this just turned my thoughts back towards an older quandary about how Russian troops can pile onto a mech the way they did w/ their tanks. They'd need something to extend the utility of the rear platform... something like a big human-carrying backpack. Or a shark cage.
Wastelander7 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
I was actually thinking something like War Machine's shoulder mount mini-gun on a hydraulic gimbal, only in recoilless rifle form. Kind of like the shoulder mount cannons you see on some Gundams and mobile suits.

I agree, having a secondary means of egress would be a great ideal. I'd put it on top of the torso near the head, as the machine is unlikely to be stuck head down and the primary hatch still be blocked. Not to mention in a desert battlefield it would almost be a necessity to cool the crew compartment.

And I agree on the skirt. They might weld on some rungs onto the backs of the legs. That would allow two crew-members them to start mounting at the same time. Another thing I like about this model is that the crew can mount safely even under small arms fire using the legs and torso armor as cover.

I like the ideal of the cage on the back for infantry with the Soviet models. Though with the Soviet mentality I doubt it would be a full cage. More likely a catwalk type affair about the level of the torso ring so they could fire over the shoulder of the machine, using the upper torso armor as cover and chain or rope ladders to get to and from the platform. Be a good place to put snipers if the machine was stationary, as they could have a commanding view of the battlefield, yet they would be hard to hit from the ground because of the angles involved.

As for the foot on this model and kneeling, I was thinking a telescoping mechanism that extends the foot further down for kneeling. Possibly acting as a hydraulic shock absorber mechanism too? Thinking of custom cars that have hydraulics rather than regular shock absorbers and can cause the car to jack up in the back or front or one side, or bounce up and down on the front wheels.
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
The hydraulic gimbal shoulder mount is an interesting idea. Especially like the idea of slaving it to head movement. Being lightweight, such a weapon wouldn't be too cumbersome for a light mech like Sieglinde to equip on the shoulder. I imagine such a thing could be manually reloaded by crew on the rear platform? Adding an auto-loader would detract from the weapon's unobtrusiveness.

In general, larger shoulder cannons on heavier mechs probably only have up/down depression/elevation ability, achieving left/right traverse from waist movement. You'd want them to pivot upwards so as not to obstruct head sights or movement, not to mention granting some AA ability. A must for long-range artillery as well.

In the future I'd like to show more application of shoulder mounted weapons, varying payload options for different mech types, and explore tactical utility involved.

One nice thing about Russian mechs... you don't have to think too hard about devising creature comforts for the crew or hitchhiking infantry.

So... looks like I need to study some low-rider suspension systems. :laughing: Excellent idea.
Most premium heads also have external speaker systems so in theory they could indeed cruise in style. ;)
Wastelander7 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
Well, if you had it fed by a belt like a machine gun, then the belt could run through a flexible track back to an ammo locker on the machine's back. (kind of like the belt feed on some miniguns) So, it wouldn't really be much more obtrusive than the machine is already.

Though for being unobtrusive a tall upright machine with a head isn't exactly going to be compromised by a gun on it's shoulder. And given that it's a light mech it's doubtful that it'd be carrying a heavy cannon. More likely it'd be carrying a medium weight (at most) recoilless or a fairly light hand held cannon weapon. Another good possibility for a mech in this class would be a hand held rocket/missile launcher. They are relatively light (compared to a tank's main gun) and pack a heavy punch. Maybe a drum feed? Kind of like the hand held grenade launchers we have now? Though that might fit the American machines better because it'd look like a Tommy Gun. (Thomson sub-machine gun, with a drum magazine)

And considering it's designed for infantry suppression as it's primary role, the recoilless would make sense as they could be used for shelling fortified farm houses etc. (so would the mortar too) I doubt this model would be able to go head to head with even a heavily armed medium machine without being shredded. So, it's artillery piece would be more self defense/anti-infantry, rather than designed to take on heavy armor.

If I'm envisioning this machine's role properly it's for light hit and run attacks against infantry that have little or no armor support. So, a recoilless or rocket gun would be perfect for that sort of mission. Also if it was doing recon, a heavy weapon would only limit it's mobility.

Another odd ideal would be a hand held Panzerfaust, not the kind with a shield like your other machines but, more like the infantry model. Since the mech has a head, it could conceivably fire a shoulder launched rocket like an infantryman. Using the head optics to use a modified sight on the side of the launcher rather than the top. Just an ideal to kick around.

And I have a great appreciation for shoulder mounted weapons. They make a whole lot of sense. Especially since you can keep firing them while running full tilt away from your enemies! LOL

But, shoulder mounts have other benefits too. For one thing the machine doesn't have to expose itself as much to fire over cover. A hand held has to be held at the machine's hip, or put up to "shoulder" height, exposing more of the machine to return fire. In this regard, mecha of this type could fight from a trench or from behind a building effectively. Even a turreted machine would have to expose itself more to fire. And if the machine does away with the head, the gun itself could mount the optics.

Another advantage is that you can do away with the turret system with the heavy motors to rotate the turret. And since the shoulder mount is free to rotate in any direction and doesn't have the weight of a tank turret, it can rotate and acquire targets much more quickly. That's why an auto loader would make so much sense for the weapon. A shoulder mount could fire on 3 targets in the time that it would take a conventional tank to fire on one.

It also leaves the arms free to, say, pull a comrade's machine out of the line of fire, while still being able to return fire at the same time. Not to mention that the machine could hold a sacrificial shield to take anti-armor shells in front of itself with both hands and still fire on the enemy in an assault. (something like being able to fire a gun over the rim of a riot shield while advancing)

And yep, the speakers are a great ideal, but, the bass is gonna be drowned out by the artillery for sure! LOL
flaketom Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011
In color stuff looks even sweeter and the background/developmental history is the dot on the i to let my mind wander off into opds world for the weekend... Really great, makes it as plausible as it gets! Brilliant!
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011
Even really rough color (like this) helps the concepts immensely. Much easier to interpret complex angular forms as opposed to B&W. I always imaged these models in these specific colors. So they finally feel more 'real' to me, even if not looking perfectly pretty. Sort of relaxes a muscle in the imagination.

Bottom one still not 100% great IMO. It's the damn arms and shoulders. But top 2 are right where I want 'em in terms of shape. One day I'll have to see them w/ dirt and gear and texture, weapons, etc...
but lots mechs need love in the meantime.

I got a little carried away w/ the text. But truth is I couldn't sleep after I finished this, cuz I was writing it in my head. And had to dodge some work the next morning so that I could write it down. Otherwise I'd have gone nuts.
flaketom Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
Glad you did so, cause its again another step forward. Big,big question answered!
I don't know. I like the shoulder and upper arms of the bottom one. ONly thing which I don't like so much is the round shape in the front view. In the side view it looks okay,although I don't know if it would obstruct bending. Ooops. I soo gotta catch the sbahn. More later.
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