German Leopard III Heavy Tank:


With the new century well over three decades old, and a new Cold War starting to get uglier every year, it had become clear to the Military of the European Union that their tank armies were now vastly outclassed by the tank brigades of the SSSR. The first glimmers of this had been seen in 2012, when the SSSR fought a quick and devastating war with the Ukraine, and utterly crushed the fledgling republic's forces with massive waves of tanks. Still, intelligence reports had shown that almost all of these tanks had been T-80 and T-90 types, tanks that had been designed in the late twentieth century. The EU forces fielded tanks of similar age, and greater sophistication.


But in the intervening years, all this changed. While the SSSR continued to field their magnificent T-212 in ever greater numbers, the EU forces still relied on the Challenger II and the Leopard II Mk 5, numbers of which had been severely cut due to the so-called "Peace Dividend". This could not go on.


The golden age of science might still be in full swing, but the relatively restful age of peace was drawing to an end as the soviets once again began to look outward, and tank armies once again began to amass in Russia. Although the Leopard and Challenger IIs would hold their own against the T-80 and T-90 types, a new tank was needed to counter the T-212.


Instead of creating a entirely new tank, designers looked towards the Leopard 2. There was still room for improvement and additions to the frame, and additions were certainly needed. In a similar fashion, the Americans where created an upgraded version of their Abrams main battle tank. The tanks armor was upgraded by replacing the standard spaced steel and ceramics armor with British "Dorchester" type armor, a steel enclosed laminate of depleted uranium, ceramics and polymers which gave outstanding protection against explosive and kinetic energy weapons.


Sensors were not overlooked, and the Leo received the latest in infra red sensors, passive night vision equipment, and a mono-pulse millimeter radar. In addition to this there was a extensive ECM load-out, with both passive and active countermeasures.


But the most obvious addition to the tank was its new main gun, a huge 140 mm smoothbore cannon which was actually quite old, having first been tested in the closing days of the 20th century. Even then this weapon had been capable of firing a APFSDS dart with a penetration of a meter of solid steel at a range of a kilometer. In the intervening years ammunition technology had seen considerable improvements....


A auto-loader was mounted in the turret, with the ammunition stored horizontally in the turret bustle, and more rounds to the left of the smoothbore. The auto-loader selected and slid the rounds into the breech of the gun, removing the need for a fourth crew member. The entire auto loader and ammunition store were separated from the crew compartment (both commander and gunner were located to the right of the cannon) by a large armor plate, which meant that even after an enemy hit ignited the ammunition, the crew had a good chance of survival.


The initial secondary weapons were two liquid propellant weapons with one mounted coaxial to the 140 mm smoothbore, and the other on the turret roof, capable of being fired by hand, or from within the turret by remote control. In later models, this was replaced with medium rail guns. Both weapons were considered very effective and many models armed with the liquid propellant weapons remained in service.


All this came at a price though, with the tank being nearly ten tons heavier than it had been before. This had been recognized in the planning stages though, and both the engine, the drive train, and the suspension were upgraded. Like the American Abrams tank, the engine of the Leopard III was a fuel cell system. The system gave better range, fuel could be derived from water, did not pollute, and had a much smaller heat signature than the old diesel of the Leopard II. The tracks were also widened, to retain a normal ground pressure. In order to protect them, the side armor was sloped outwards at a shallow angle, giving somewhat improved protection as a added bonus. All in all it was a virtually new tank, and ultimately it was given the "III" designation to reflect this. Later models replaced the Gas Turbine engine with a nuclear turbine, giving the tank nearly unlimited range.


The military liked the new tank. Liked it a LOT. Here was a tank which could take on anything the Soviets could throw at it, and come out on top. The Soviet tank soldiers were markedly less pleased. For years their T-95 had appeared to be the most powerful tank on the battlefield, but the scales had swung the other way, and once again they would have to rely on numbers to overwhelm the enemy...


Although the EU generals and troops loved the new tank, the politicians were less pleased. Even though it was clear that a tank was needed, did it have to be *this* expensive? As a result the Leopard III was only acquired in small batches at any one time, and it was a common military complaint that there were never enough Leo IIIs. Fortunately there was never a real clash between the EU and the SSSR, although there are unsubstantiated reports of clashes between Leo IIIs and T-95`s in Poland, during the winter of 2063.


Although the Leopard III would ultimately be replaced by other tanks, it was a mighty piece of machinery, and there were still hundreds of them in army depots around Europe when the Rifts finally came. Every now and then a new cache is found, and although the NGR and Triax show little interest in them there are several small companies specialized in refurbishing and maintaining Leopard III tanks, and making the ammunition for its 140 mm cannon. There are even conversion kits out there that replace the 140 mm cannon on the fusion powered version of the tank with a tri-barrel laser similar to the one fitted onto later versions of the Panther, but for some reason they are not very popular. Apparently the mercenaries and adventurers who are the main users of the tank in Rifts time like the smoothbore, calling it simple, dependable, and making "A sufficiently loud bang, both when firing and when hitting the target...". This is especially so in units who often face magic users, and really like the extended range of the smoothbore. Hitting targets from more than six miles away means that even with the flash of the cannon, there is a reasonable chance you won`t get spotted.


Model Type: Kampfpanzer Leopard III
Vehicle Type: Heavy Tank
Crew: Three (Driver, Gunner, and Commander).


M.D.C. by Location:

[1] Tractor Treads (2):120 each
[2] Turret:350
140 mm smooth-bore gun:110
Tri-barrel Laser (Optional):90
8 mm Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun (Turret Mounted):25
8 mm Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun (Co-Axial):20
8 mm turret mounted Railgun:40
8 mm Co-axial Railgun:30
Firefly Chaff Launchers (2):25 each
[2] Reinforced Crew Compartment:150
[3] Main Body:650


Notes:
[1] Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the tank until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
[2] The turret IS manned by the crew, notably the commander and the gunner. Destroying it knocks out the weapons, although a ammunition fire/explosion will blow out of the top of the turret, since it is designed with blow-out panels. Since the commander and the gunner are separated from both ammo and cannon they are not endangered until the reinforced crew compartment is also destroyed. without otherwise damaging the vehicle. This makes the tank very survivable, and it can retreat and have a new weapon's turret fitted relatively quickly.
[3] If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable.
Special: As the tank's armor is constructed out of "Dorchester" armor, all damage done by Explosives and Kinetic energy weapons is reduced by 25%. Directed energy weapons and plasma weapons inflict full damage.


Speed:
Ground: 55.9 mph (90 kph) maximum road speed; 43.5 mph (70 kph) off-road. The vehicle is designed to traverse virtually all terrain and can climb at up to a 60% grade although at a much slower speed (About 10% of maximum road speed). It can also climb barriers and ford trenches. The vehicle can also handle side slopes of up to 30%.
Maximum Range: Fuel Cell Models: 621.4 miles (1000 km) Nuclear Models: Effectively Unlimited (5 years.)


Statistical Data:
Height: 9.3 feet (2.79 meters) to top of commander's cupola.
Width: 13.3 feet (4 meters)
Length: 25.6 feet (7.69 meters) not including gun barrel
Weight: 79 tons (72 metric tons).
Power Source: Fuel Cell System or Nuclear fusion turbine (Must be refueled every five years, otherwise effectively unlimited)
Cargo Capacity: Minimal, enough for equipment with crew
Black Market Cost: Fuel Cell Models: 2,800,000 Credits to built. Nuclear: 8,500,000 Credits to build. Each model usually double to triple that to buy one today. If fitted, any extra weapons systems will add to the cost of the tank; Leopard IIIs are usually found very heavily modified, though the main cannon is seldom replaced.


Weapon Systems:

  1. Main Gun: The Leopard III enjoys a +3 to strike for the main gun using the laser targeting sights and radar, and because of its gyrostabilisation the gun can be fired without penalties "on the move". The cannon can angle from -5 degrees to +15 degrees up, and the turret can rotate through 360 degrees.
    1. 140 mm Smooth Bore Cannon: Mounted in the tank's turret and fully automated, this was a rather old (and refined) weapon capable of knocking out any tank then in service. It fires a variety of ammunition with combustible cases, meaning there is no need to eject spent casings.
      Maximum Effective Range: Direct fire range is 8202 feet (2,500 meters) for HEAT or Plasma, but 14763.7 feet (4,500 meters) for APFSDS. Indirect fire for all rounds is 36089.2 feet (6.8 miles / 11,000 meters).
      Mega-Damage: (HEAT): 3D4x10, blast radius of 10 ft. (APFSDS): 3D6x10+20 (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration). (PLASMA): 3D6x10, blast radius of 30 ft. Fragmentation: 6D6, blast radius of 40 feet.
      Rate of Fire: Three times per melee.
      Payload: 34 gun rounds. Normally 10 HEAT, 16 APFSDS, and 8 Plasma, but this can be varied according to need. An additional round can be stored, ready to fire, in the main gun. If they are available, this is usually a plasma round so that the tank can deal with a surprise attack of any type. Also note that plasma only became available just before the Rifts, and before that the tank carried Fragmentation rounds.
      Of these rounds 30 are stored horizontally stacked in the large turret bustle and on the left side of the gun, and are ready to feed into the autoloader. In essence, the bustle is part of the autoloader assembly. The last 12 shells are stored in the tanks main body, and must be manually loaded into the autoloader by the commander or gunner, at a rate of two shells per rounds.
      Bonuses: +2 to strike at all times with cannon shells from the laser sight and fire control computer, including when on the move. For indirect long-range fire has a +1 to strike, but only when standing still.
    2. Tri-barrel Pulse Laser cannon: This weapon is sometimes substituted for the 140 mm smoothbore. Essentially it is the same weapon and powerpack as fitted into later versions of the Panther MBT. The fusion powerpack is located entirely inside of the turret, taking up the space of the old ammunition storage. The laser has less range and power than the smoothbore, but is not dependant on ammunition. It is also markedly shorter than the smoothbore, making for easier turret traverse.
      Note that this weapon was never fitted in pre-Rifts times, and is only available as a conversion option in the NGR.
      Maximum Effective Range: 10,000 feet (3000 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 1D4x10 per barrel, usually fires bursts of 3 pulses for 3D4x10.
      Rate of Fire: Three bursts per melee.
      Payload: Unlimited
      Bonuses: +2 to strike at all times with cannon shells and tri-barrel laser from the laser sight and fire control computer, including when on the move. Cannot be used for indirect fire.
  2. Top Mounted Weapon System: The tank has a mount directly above the main turret. This mount has a 360 degree swiveling fire-arc and is capable of tracking aerial targets even directly overhead the Leopard. It can be fired manually, or from within the turret with computer guidance. As such, it is a somewhat crude but efficient CIWS for use against missiles and aircraft as well as ground personnel.
    1. Heckler & Koch LPM-8-B Liquid Propellant Machine-gun: This weapon was designed when it was clear that the older 7.62 mm machine-gun design would be inadequate. In later models, this was replaced by a rail gun but many older models still retained this weapon. The weapon can fire all types of burst available to machine guns except extended bursts. The weapon uses a special liquid propellant which delivers about four times the force of nitro-cellulose propellant and the weapon fires an 8 mm round.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage:
        Single Shot (Costs 1 attack): 1D6
        Ten Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 5D6
        Ten Round Burst on 1D4 Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6
        Thirty Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6x10
        Thirty Round Burst on 1D8 Target (Costs 1 attack): 2D6
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner.
      Payload: 800 rounds
    2. Heckler & Koch RLG-8G millimeter Rail-Gun: Replaces the liquid propellant machine-gun in later models. Rail gun does not need to carry any propellant giving a higher ammunition capacity and has a longer range than the previous liquid propellant weapon.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,920 feet (1,500 meters)
      Mega Damage: Single shot does 2D4 and 20 round burst does 1D6x10
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner; usually the commander.
      Payload: 1200 rounds (60 bursts).
  3. Coaxial Mounted Weapon: Mounted beside the main gun and fires in the same direction as the main gun. This limits it to the same firing arcs as the smoothbore, but since it uses the same targeting systems as the main cannon and is mounted very stable it is more accurate than its counterpart on top of the turret. +2 to strike due to better fire control.
    1. Heckler & Koch LPM-8-B Liquid Propellant Machine-gun: This weapon was designed when it was clear that the older 7.62 mm machine-gun design would be inadequate. In later models, this was replaced by a rail gun but many older models still retained this weapon. The weapon can fire all types of burst available to machine guns except extended bursts. The weapon uses a special liquid propellant which delivers about four times the force of nitro-cellulose propellant and the weapon fires an 8 mm round.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage:
      Single Shot (Costs 1 attack): 1D6
        Ten Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 5D6
        Ten Round Burst on 1D4 Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6
        Thirty Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6x10
        Thirty Round Burst on 1D8 Target (Costs 1 attack): 2D6
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner.
      Payload: 1200 rounds
    2. Heckler & Koch RLG-8G millimeter Rail-Gun: Replaces the liquid propellant machine-gun in later models. Rail gun does not need to carry any propellant giving a higher ammunition capacity and has a longer range than the previous liquid propellant weapon.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,920 feet (1,500 meters)
      Mega Damage: Single shot does 2D4 and 20 round burst does 1D6x10
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner; usually the commander.
      Payload: 1600 rounds (80 bursts).
  4. Firefly Chaff Launcher (2): Located on the sides of the turret they are designed to confuse incoming missiles. The launchers do this by launching both flares and active radar decoys. Chaff isn`t actually in use any more, but the name sticks around. The decoys and the flare rockets float down by parachute; Effects last for one minute (4 Melee rounds.)
    Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate on Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
    Maximum Effective Range: Around tank only; Rough distance of 80 ft (24 m) around tank.
    Mega Damage: None
      01-35 - Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed..
      36-60 - Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      61-00 - No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Payload: 18 each for a total of 36. 36 reloads are carried, reloading takes five melees. IF you want to get out of the tank to do so.


Sensors:

Special Notes:



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By Mischa (E-Mail Mischa ).

Revised by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2002 & 2009, Mischa Campen & Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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