“There is no easy way to knock out a Neo Tank. Six inches of plasteel armour all round, double redundant backups in the drive train and weapons, shielded com-link antennas!”
Hover Tanks were heavily armed and armoured assault vehicles employed by the Neo Sapien Order for ground combat. Their debut appearance was in The Last Man.
Description and AnalysisEdit
Neo Sapien Hovertanks follow the same design format as most 20th and 21st century tanks employed by human militaries in the past: a heavily armoured, superficially rectangular hull with a fully rotating enclosed turret mounting a large main gun. However, the similarities end here. As the name implies, hovertanks float several inches above ground level using repulsor lift drives rather than rolling on roadwheels and caterpillar tracks. Rather than launching kinetic projectiles, their main gun is a heavy energy based blaster comparable to a medium size capital warship cannon. On closer inspection, the main gun is actually comprised of two blasters enclosed within a single barrel shroud. Lastly, hovertanks are usually controlled by the crewman cyberjacking into the vehicle just like in an e-frame; but it is possible to drive the vehicle manually as well.
Compared to e-frames, hovertanks appear to be at an unfair disadvantage. They are nearly defenseless against aerial attack from e-frames and other aerospace craft unless they enter the limited elevation range of their weapons. Just like modern 20th and 21st century tanks, their armour was more easily penetrated from the rear and flanks by weapons fire. Their restriction to ground manoeuvre precludes them from simply flying over obstacles as with e-frames and visibility from within a hovertank is limited.
On the other hand, a Neo hovertank’s brutish appearance and heavy armament accords it a shock value and intimidation value that worked very well for the occupation and subjugation of the Terran homeworlds. Their ability to secure territory in concert with Neo infantry freed up e-frames for other tasks such as aerial patrol and space based combat while their heavy plasteel shells and extensive redundant backups allowed them to last in combat for longer periods than e-frames.
Jump troopers staging an assault on Ceres to divert the Neos from the Exofleet’s true target, Mercury, encountered Hovertanks during the Neo counter-attack on their landing zones. Hovertanks provided heavy firepower for security patrols on Mars (Fire Ship; Martian Luck) and Venus (The Greatest Fear) and escorted prisoner convoys on occupied Earth (Under the Skin). Numerous hovertanks were destroyed or abandoned during the Exofleet and Resistance’s liberation of Venus (Venus Rising).
It was during the events of Fifth Column and The Last Jump that Neo Hovertanks played a central role – the Resistance’s drive to Phaeton City, formerly Chicago. Chicago cell leader Eve Hanley and Earth Resistance commander Sean Napier captured a Neo Hovertank factory in Detroit, Michigan with the original aim of disabling or destroying its stock. On learning of the difficulty of disabling such a huge number of these heavy vehicles from Cates, a former slave labourer, Napier decided to use the tanks to take Phaeton City in an armoured assault supported by salvaged e-frames.
Napier’s tank force was ambushed by a similarly equipped Neo army at Battle Creek, resulting in the only significant tank vs tank battle of the war. Several Resistance Hovertanks were lost when the Neos collapsed sections of the interstate bridge; the surviving hovertanks engaged in close range shootouts in the surrounding forest. The engagement was finally resolved when the Exofleet targeted and pounded the Neo armoured force with a capital ship bombardment. Napier resumed the Hovertank advance on Phaeton City, culminating in the rescue of Neo Sapien officers about to be executed by Typhonus and Neo Lords (Abandon Hope).