I’ll be posting equipment and personnel from the Batavian land forces, its allies and successors, in no particular order, but I’ll try to keep posts centered around certain assets or periods if possible.
Even though this compilation is not complete, I’ll be posting everything I have right now since the AU is dead for good this time.
This tank is a reboot of my FD MBT challenge entry found here: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9638&start=30#p190687
As you may know I believe FD scale is too small to properly depict AFVs, and I started drawing them a while ago, including crews, in what was known as Franscale. The result of that of course is Soldierbucket. That, however, isn't the only reason I decided to reboot this tank. The Bolwerk had a crummy history, a crummier name and was basically an off brand Chieftain with a fancy suspension. Further evolving of the Monarchia AU let me do the introspection needed to develop doctrine properly, and that ended up in a tank that was quite different from what it started. I like to think of the Bentham as something in between a T-62 and T-64 technologically, but made through a western european lens.
Unlike IRL Western Europe, the Zürich Pact cannot afford to sit back waiting for the russians come to them while reinforcements make their way across the atlantic (no USA formed), so alliance doctrine is based on a fast offensive towards the Vistula, followed by consolidation of ground and further offensives depending on the political situation. Liberal use of atomic devices is expected.
What I ended up with was a much smaller tank than Bolwerk, that sports great mobility but moderate speed, tough armour making use of composites, and an advanced smoothbore 103mm gun that stays with it for practically its entire service life.
De Schelde SD 777 Bentham
Development history :
The program culminating in the SD 777 Bentham started in 1957, and was intended to supplement and eventually replace the previous Buffel universal tank from the late 1940s. It was envisioned to act as organic support within the Batavian Mechanized Infantry Divisions like the previous Buffel had been used. Experience with the Buffel and from the 2nd German War had convinced all three army high commands that tactical and strategic mobility was the most important feature of a fighting vehicle, seconded by frontal aspect protection. While the awe-inspiring firepower of Belgae and Barbaar were very desireable on the field, the best tank was the one that made it to the battlefield and stayed there. The SD 777’s design took into account the whole logistical footprint of the vehicle, including common tunnels, bridges, transporters, landing craft, and was engineered to be easily maintainable in the field. The initial A-1 variant ended up at 42 metric tonnes, far below Buffel’s optimistic 48 tonnes combat weight cited in its manual.
This vehicle is an A-0 preproduction tank, one of the 422 tanks of the 9th Armoured Battalion rushed to Japan aboard the LST-412 Rep. Sch. Texel in 1963 to participate in operation Kersenbloesem (Fleur de cerisier). While underway, the tanks were painted in an elaborate 3-tone scheme that included countershading of the barrel, meant to deceive the enemy as to the length of the gun’s barrel. It features an Ag m/61 8mm machine gun on the commander’s cupola, and is missing any smoke grenade launchers or the combined infrared/halogen searchlight later mounted to these tanks. Not visible is the lack of an ABC suite. Mk.A tanks had a 1-axis gun stabilizer.
Tank 211 is a production A-1 variant, which differs visually from the previous A-0 by mounting smoke grenade launchers and an infrared/halogen searchlight on top of the gun. The A-1 was fitted for but not with an ABC suite until later upgrades.
Tank 131 is a B-2 version which mounts an NBC filtration system, fording equipment on the turret bustle, a 2-plane stabilizer for the main gun, provision for external fuel tanks and for a 15mm autocannon as seen here. Of note is the improvised fuel tank rack supported on the hull lift points.
This unupgraded tank belongs to an armoured reconnaissance battalion and features a number of field improvements, often retrofitted to older tanks as part of factory upgrade programs. In this case, this tank shows non standard fittings for a 13.2mm machinegun, smoke grenade launchers and external fuel tanks. Of note is the divisional insignia carefully painted on the external fuel tank, possibly borrowed from regimental stocks by the independent battalion.
Tank 19 is seen in swedish service, part of a batch of newbuilt vehicles purchased to supplement the older Buffel tanks. Its distinctive feature is the swedish pattern smoke grenade launchers and the use of a 13.2mm machine gun instead of a 15mm autocannon.
This african tank is an upgraded older model, fitted with a mine roller to clear paths through enemy minefields. It features external fuel tanks and a machinegun on the loader's hatch, and sports 3 kill marks on its barrel. Indications of upgrades include the driver's night vision periscope replacing the front periscope in front of his hatch, a laser rangefinder and combined night sight plus gunner's sight over the turret, a more modern set of smoke grenade launchers, and the removal of the optical rangefinder and sealing of its openings on the sides of the turret.
Tank C11 is an F variant upgraded through the "Gering Voet" program, undertaken by all tanks still in service from 1976 to 1979. They're readily distinguishable by the more complex engine deck fittings, panoramic commander's sight, new radio aerials and wind sensor over the turret. Tanks in service with the Marinejagerkorps were often thoroughly upgraded with other modifications, like this one featuring four machineguns, external fuel tanks and fitting for a spare roadwheel behind the fording gear. This tank has a newbuilt turret evident from the lack of sealing around the former rangefinder openings.
The Korean Republic was an early adopter of the Bentham, acquiring 46 Mk.C-2K vehicles in 1968, known in service as Heojong-A. Depicted here is a typical Heojong-B in service. Distinguishing features are chiefly the locally sourced smoke grenade launchers. The presence of sealing around the optical rangefinder's openings does not indicate an older mark of turret, since the factory took a while to switch over to turret sides built from flat nonperforated panels.
The Imperial State of Persia was one of the main foreign customers of the Bentham, acquiring in total 707 tanks both newbuild and refurbished. Here is a Mk.G-1P, known locally as Shir 2, of which 400 were built new for Persia. Features of the Mk.G include its more complex engine deck layout for its upgraded P1908TL-E-1 800hp engine, a new combined stabilized gunner's sight, a stabilized panoramic commander's sight with thermals and a crosswind sensor on the back of the turret. These tanks featured new radios, evident from the straight aerials.
The Republic of Japan was another customer of the Bentham, these being acquired by the Tokyo government to replace aging tanks donated by the French and Batavians in the late '50s. The japanese eventually acquired a license to produce the Bentham locally and ended up modernizing and upgrading them under their own path. Depicted here is a Type 38 (local name for the Bentham) in its II "Hei" variant, roughly equivalent to a Mk.H. It features the "Vechten" Ceramic sandwich armour package, evident from the addons to the mantlet and turret front, composite rubber side skirts, a PATHELA stabilized commander's panoramic sight and laser warning sensors around the turret roof.
Austria was a late adopter of the Bentham within the Zürich pact, relying previously chiefly on French and Louisiannean equipment. 383 of the Mk.H-3 variant were sold newbuilt to Austria in 1983 and included all state-of-the-art equipment including the PATHELA sight. Delivering top tier tanks to frontline allies was a courtesy the Bloc rarely afforded to its associated states, but the risk of espionage was deemed acceptable in exchange for well equipped allied formations being available during wartime. Distinguishing features are the same as on the japanese tank but in this case, external fuel tanks have been installed, and the laser warning sensors are not present, this feature being introduced by the Mk.K in 1985.
The african armies were not welcoming of the Bentham initially, clinging zealously to their Buffel tanks in what was an admittedly very active, but lower threat theater. Once the Bentham was proven succesful by both the East Asian Army command and the Marinejagerkorps, African Army command requested two regiments' worth of tanks upgraded to Mk.F standard. This made them the second to last adopters of the Bentham in the Batavian union, just before Nieuw Zeeland. Nevertheless, at this point the africans commited fully to the Bentham and its production tooling was moved from the Netherlands to the Uitenhage Arsenal Factory for continued production after the introduction of the SD 796 Bucephalus in Europe. Depicted here is an Mk.K-3/R, distinguished chiefly by its Motregen Explosive Reactive Armour package, which notoriously changes the tank's appearance. Batavian doctrine indicates that all armoured gun vehicles are infantry support weapons and have to operate closely with the infantry, whether it is dismounts on the breakthrough stage, or IFVs during the exploitation phase. This means the batavians were not eager adopters of ERA technology, deemed too hazardous for nearby dismounts. The wide expanse and flowing nature of combat in the african theater made ERA more desireable, especially to counter the ubiquitous Bloc supplied handheld AT weapons.
The Mk.L represents the final version of the Bentham adopted in large numbers. After the 1990 coup, the Batavian successor states found most of their equipment provider supply lines severed, and they scrambled to restart production of critical components. In 1992 production of the Bentham restarted in Dvipantara using old stocks of components and equiment supplied from the Cape Republic. Eventually all equipment would be sourced locally in 1999 for the Mk.M version, due to no small effort from the Dvipantaran and Tayowanese government, and the Rowan-Hilgers consortium. The most distinguishing feature of Dvipantaran Mk.L tanks is the MAXIS NERA armour package, which gives the tank a much more modern and sleek appearance while bringing protection up to peer standards. New are also the combined gunner's thermal sight, a new laser warning system, a shared digital panoramic sight with thermal imaging, and a new crosswind sensor. An electronic jamming antenna can be seen protruding behind the side turret armour blocks, part of the tank's ECM system.
Specifications – Bentham Mk.A
Type: Second-generation Main Battle Tank
Origin: Union of Batavian Republics
Manufacturer: Republikeinse Maatschappij De Schelde
In Service: 1963
Units Built: 9070
Mass: 43 tonnes (Mk.A-1)
Length: 10m gun included
Height: 2.85m to cupola hatch
Turret front: 195mm rolled steel + 120mm silica rubber sandwich @45° (320mm RHAe KE)
Turret side: 130mm rolled steel + 80mm silica rubber sandwich @27° (168mm RHAe KE)
Turret rear: 50mm rolled steel
Upper Glacis: 90mm rolled steel + 55mm silica rubber sandwich @ 65° (250mm RHAe KE)
Lower Glacis: 85mm rolled steel @ 45° (120mm LoS)
Side: 50mm rolled steel upper hull, 25mm rolled steel lower hull
Rear: 40mm rolled steel @ 24° (44mm LoS)
Bottom: 30mm rolled steel below driver, 20mm rolled steel hull
Top: 45mm rolled steel over turret and driver, 30mm over engine
Main Armament: 103mm/53.4 Pantserkanon m/64 smoothbore gun, manually loaded, fixed ammo, 1-plane stabilized
Secondary Armament: 1x 8mm Ag m/61, 1x 1x 8mm Ag m/61 pintle-mounted
Powerplant: Brons B08192-OL (P1908TL) VR8 2-stroke diesel, 600hp @1800rpm
Power/Weight: 13.9 hp/tonne
Transmission: Werkspoor DHG34 10 speed (5F+5R) hydraulic automatic transmission
Suspension: 12x Zaks oleopneumatic single units, 3 ride settings, adjustable quadrants
Ground clearance: 0.40m at rest
Ground pressure: 0.94 kg/cm²
Operational Range: 550km, 750km with external tanks
Speed: 52km/h on road, 35km/h offroad
Fording depth: 1.4m unprepared, 2.8m prepared
Trench crossing: 3.0m
Verticall wall climb: 1.2m
SD 788 Bruut
The Kanonpantser m/79 Bruut was born out of the final decomissioning of old Belgae tanks without replacement. While Bentham took over every role Belgae had exerted, it was felt by the european army command that its capabilities were going to be missed, especially by the Heavy Infantry divisions, whose role as breakthrough units pit them against Bloc fortifications and defences from day 1 of any possible war. Most Belgaes were well maintained and lightly run so by converting old Bentham hulls by building up a casemate, recycled and spare 120mm guns could be installed on them. This would maintain the high-explosive and canister firepower of the big guns in the Heavy Infantry Divisions at a lesser cost and with more commoniality with the rest of the armoured fleet. A prototype was built from an Mk.B hull stated for conversion to Mk.G under the Gering Voet Program, production vehicles would be based on Mk.H standard.
This Bruut is a command vehicle, roughly equivalent to an Mk.H in equipment fitting, but converted from older mark hulls. It features an additional long range radio but is otherwise identical to other service vehicles. Over the roof, front to back, are a laser rangefinder, combined gunner's sight and night sight, and the commander's panoramic PATHELA periscope and thermals. Bruuts didn't feature a crosswind sensor since Belgae fire control data didn't account for this feature.