An oldie but goodie. I’m going with the Doug Chiang sketch proportions from the original Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels and close(ish) to the original WEG Imperial Sourcebook line profile, instead of the more recent CGI variations of the design. I really love the proportions here and always have. Just very clean overall, with a good mix of swoopy-ness and clearly defined shapes. Credit where it’s due, WEG nailed this one. Shame the later CGI versions have not done it justice.
The goal is a Boxer-JLTV mix light AFV for utility and supporting roles. The thing is 11.8m long. That means the rear compartment has ~2m height, so not bad scaling actually for a command vehicle – you could have a (holo)map table for instance set up and have staff standing inside around it. The rear compartment volume in total would be about M113 complete volume, which is pretty consistent for the role and would be a useful size for various things that don’t require something as big as a Broadsword MAV A7.
Depending on internal distribution
- command unit and electronics
- 1 infantry squad in fairly decent comfort in assault order
- a pair of anti-tank or crew served weapon teams with equipment
- 4 stretcher casualties or a bunch of seated casualties
What do you use to make the ships.
There’s another possible variant mentioned in the Imperial Sourcebook: a scout/skirmish variant with a 4-5 man crew and room for a 4-man fire team. It gets described as part of the Imperial Army’s Repulsorlift units, which are primarily used for dispersed scouting and combat.
IFV variant maybe? 4 man crew suggests gunners at least. Or, the 4 man team is a pair of ATGM teams?
The listed crew in the ImpSB (pages 84-85) is “mechanic, driver, tech/sensor operator and commander/gunner”, with every other vehicle having an add-on scanner with a tech operator. A squad consists of one vehicle of each type. Then, at the company level, they pair 8 vehicle squads with a pair of infantry platoons split into fire teams of 4, one team per vehicle (with a nine-man squad, I’m betting the infantry squad sergeant takes the open spot on the vehicle without the extra sensors).
There is also mention of a Heavy Weapons variant with dismountable weapons (heavy repeaters, grenade launchers and light laser cannon are given examples). Not sure exactly how a dismountable weapon would work with this, though… Maybe a roof hatch with a servo-arm to extend the weapon up out of the troop bay?
For the crew, my thought would be driver, mechanic/co-driver, gunner, comm-scan operator, with the squad commander in one vehicle, and the infantry sergeant in the command slot of the wing vehicle.
That’s a decent amount of crew for a fairly small vehicle. Though if the expectation that they would do a lot of the regular maintenance and stand watch regularly that might demand it. More of a more “independent” unit, not always near on a large maintenance/refit organization?
I think the WEG OOB is sort of incoherent, but if the “infantry” here are specialists I can see it working, especially hauling crew weapons. Going in and out with gear will be easy in my version, since it’ll have a rear ramp (see the 2nd WIP).
The compartment without cockpit space is something like 5x2x1.8m (height and width vary slightly depending on where you look, but it’s a very comfortable a deck height. That seems quite large to limit it to 4 line infantry in assault order. For extended patrols, sure, demi squad per vehicle. Sort of depends on whether you think repulsorlift units consider vehicles and men to be organically part of small units like IFVs or one just hitches a ride on the other. In real life, split squads in infantry carrier went out of style in the 50s, and it’s easy to see why given the tactical complications.
I agree the OoB is weird; I was just trying to keep my editorializing separate from the facts as written. The entire book has coherence issues, not least of which the fact that almost none of the vehicles described in the OoB have stats, while almost none of the vehicles that actually DO have stats fit cleanly into the OoB. But I digress…
The rule of thumb I’ve taken away from discussions here is that the WEG listed numbers are the “extended patrol” numbers, with basic (if cramped) living facilities allowing crew and troops to live aboard for days or weeks at a time. Take all those facilities out and you get double the troop capacity, but only for very short periods.
My first thought for the vehicle as described was to repurpose the old Kenner Imperial Troop Transport toy design, but since you were changing the Chariot from a dedicated command vehicle to a multi-role platform, I figured I’d put it out there as an option.
I think looking at a Chariot “platform” more like an MT-LB utility type vehicle is closer than thinking of it as an APC proper. I’m doing this with the Chariot because a) I think it’s very pretty, and b) I need some kind of utility vehicle for command/liaison duties and it was written up as one to begin with. I wouldn’t be taking it on a clean-sheet basis as THE standard troop transport repulsorlift.
Extended vs assault order numbers would work. Like a Broadsword should be able to cram a platoon in for an assault too, but it’s not going to be able to do that and have everyone stay comfortable for a long deployment. I’m increasingly leaning towards SW vehicles being detached from their infantry organizationally, for this reason if nothing else, as the numbers change dramatically depending on the mission.
I definitely see some shades of M113 in there, too, not really suited to front-line combat, but extremely versatile for support roles. As written, the command variant was described as a modified military speeder, more heavily armored, but slower and more lightly armed, suited more for garrison or occupation duty than real combat.
And your idea of having vehicles organizationally distinct from infantry does actually fit the theme of the OoB (although you have to really dig into the details to see it).
Is watchstanding still necessary with the power of star wars sensors? It also seems questionable that there’s a dedicated mechanic rather than every member of the crew being trained in basic maintenance, or just packing an astromech. Having the vehicle commander also being the gunner is also just a mistake unless he’s just designating a target for a droid-brain controlled laser. The recon variant might also use a lot of the freed-up volume to pack in a swarm of scout drones, like the eyebots that Maul released in TPM.
Also, what do you mean by split squads going out of style in the 50? Under my impression, the Yanks still practice that.
I was thinking more about how the 15 infantry piling onto a vehicle from a carrier unit turned into infantry and their vehicles integrating into the same unit, like for example the BTR50 > BMP transition. Some vehicles can do it more cleanly than others of course. Pretty sure Bradleys can and do pile in full squads, it’s just not particularly comfortable. The general trend isn’t towards splitting squads across vehicles.
This seems to be more the pattern of the Marine Corps than US Army Mechanized units. In the Corps, Marines are equipped as Light Infantry, but can then be assigned to vehicles as needed. Put a company of Infantry into Amphtracs, then attach some M1’s and LAV-25’s, and they become a Mechanized unit. Put them on MV-22’s and they’re now Air Assault.
The impression I get from the OoB is that the Empire took a similar approach, as no mention is ever made of Mechanized units beyond the Repulsorlift units (with a fire team per vehicle). Because the Imperial Army was organizationally modular, you could take an Infantry unit at any level and attach Armor units outfitted with whatever vehicle was appropriate for transport / assault purposes, and you had whatever sort of unit you needed: Airborne (orbital drop pods), Air Assault (shuttles or airspeeders), Mechanized (AT-ATs or Juggernauts) or just straight Infantry occupying static positions or deploying from ground transport, then moving and fighting on foot.
The drawback to that organizational style is that the two disparate troop types (infantry and vehicle crews) lack familiarity and experience working together, so time is taken in advance for the different types to work together, the result will be increased inefficiency on the battlefield. Of course, the Empire has so much men and materiel to work with, it may not really care.
Bradleys could conceivably fit a 9-man squad in emergencies, but there’s only seating for a reduced squad of 7, and I wouldn’t want to be one of the two guys without a seatbelt in a Bradley charging across an open field.
Of course, things are different in the SWU; a speeder isn’t going to be bouncing its passengers around while traveling on rough terrain, and may even have inertial compensation to protect the crew from collisions or other sudden impacts.
Star Wars is, at its heart, a story of people, not machines. The tech is just a backdrop. When you start questioning whether or not the people are necessary for certain tasks, you’re not far from questioning whether they’re necessary for any task at all, and characters controlling droids from a keyboard behind a desk isn’t very compelling storytelling. The reality of what we see on screen indicates that, for whatever reason, Star Wars tech requires a human in the loop once it reaches a certain level.
I expect all of the crew are trained for maintenance and repairs to some degree, but having a lead mechanic / systems engineer onboard who can monitor systems during operations, then take lead as needed if repairs are required isn’t unreasonable.
From a narrative standpoint, of course. From an in-universe standpoint, there seems to be a (justified IMHO) institutional fear of over-reliance on automation to the point where humans have been excluded entirely from the kill chain, but that’s not the issue. My suggestions would just reduce the drudgery of watchstanding, minor maintenance, and data collection. All the important decisions of where to drive, who to pull the trigger on, and what to report still are made by humans.
But watchstanding would also cover the guy sitting at the sensor station at 3am providing oversight to whatever onboard AI is handling the drudge work. Especially in a combat zone. There needs to be somebody there to make the urgent decisions quickly. And the more crew you have, the easier it is to split the duty shifts as needed. Hell, in a vehicle this size, you could have a couple onboard reserve crew rotating in if they’re on extended deployment
Hooray! Been looking forward to this one for a long time. It looks awesome!
Awesome! This is what I was expecting for the Imperials light, general-purpose vehicle. Something to pad the numbers as a light mobility vehicle and equipment transport. Moving behind the lines, possibly convoying with some light weapons.
All that’s missing is a spoiler and racing stripes to make it go faster!
All jokes aside it looks great!
Excellent. Been looking forward to seeing this one. Love to old school (90s) star wars!
Some not to
Good to finally see the Chariot getting some love