The LV-43 (Лидер Видаль - Серия 43, "Leader Vidal - 43rd series") is the Workers' Republic of Vidalia's main battle tank.
The LV-43 is to the Vidalian player what assault infantry is to any other : his basic unit. It is buildable at a very low price, and its ramping cost is small as well, which means that you can easily field dozens of them in early-game, and up to hundreds in late-game.
LV production should be the main goal of your economic development. Your oil gathering rate is naturally good, so focus on building up a strong metal income, to achieve a heavy industry-based economy in the first minutes of the game.
Use the LV as you would use infantry in any other army : hold the frontline, and throw wave after wave at the enemy, force him into an attrition war he cannot win, and when his army collapses, rush your mechanised hordes into the breach.
Beware of urban combat and siege battles ! Remember that your tanks cannot capture cities, so make sure you always have a few infantry around to finish the job once your tanks have smashed all opposition.
Also, pay attention to enemy specialized tank hunters. Your opponent will soon realise that tanks are your main battle force, and will likely make AT units his own. Always support your tanks with a few machine guns, and a powerful artillery barrage. Enemy fighters, or ground-attack planes if you are facing Salviatia or the Transsahelians, are also the bane of your armoured divisions. Since you cannot rely on the People's Air Defence to take them out, you have two options: either invest in heavy AA support from mobile SAM batteries, or just apply General Brejnev's advice : just ignore them and push forward, until you reach their airfields. No more airfields, no more airplanes!
Finally, make sure your industry can support your war effort: loss rate will be very high, so tank production should be continuous until victory is secured. Constantly optimise your oil and metal production, with wonders if needed, and research your Logistics line and Military tech to lower the LV-43's cost over all others.
In conclusion, the LV-43 will constitute the backbone of your steamroller, but it won't win the war by itself. Keep it supported against its specialised counters-units, make sure it keeps coming, and it will do fine.
- Very affordable and fast-building armoured vehicle.
- Black Tide — The main strength of the LV-43 is its ability to be amassed in huge numbers. Set your economy on to extraction of sufficient metal and oil, and you will be able to inundate your opponents in no time.
- Anti-Tank Tactics — As a slow-moving large target the tank however is vulnerable to weapons such as the Bolivarian Fenix, or vulnerable to the "Shuhada'" Martyrs created by Jihadia. Support your tanks with machine guns, recon vehicles or your Marine infantry where possible. Air support might be needed in games against other players such as Salviatia or the Federation, which are known to possess powerful aircraft.
The LV-43 series' development began in 1959, right after the Battle of Irkutsk disaster at the close of the Second Great War had dramatically emphasised the inefficiency of the previously used LV-28 in combat against more sophisticated tanks fielded by other powers.
The demands were convergent, both from the Commissariat to War and the Commissariat to Industry : the new tank was to be versatile, robust, quickly adaptable to extreme climatic conditions, easy to master in a few days of training, and most importantly, cheap and easy to build.
After a dozen unsuccessful designs, the first prototype entered service in December 1965, under the designation "LV-40". First engagements fielded against rebel forces in Africa immediately showed major conception flaws, such as poor motorisation and gunnery, and extreme crew uncomfort in its interior space, due to its little size and to the heat from the engine being insufficiently vented. The LV-40 hence went back to the drawing board, and was widely redesigned, mostly by adding an autoloader to its main gun, thus eliminating the need for a fourth crew member. Engine venting was improved, and side skirts were added as a protection against infantry-operated anti-tank weapons, such as the fearsome Salviatian Panzerschrek VI.
The chief engineer, comrade Anton Mikulenko, wished to carry on improving the project, by adding a sophisticated aiming device his staff had been working on, as well as entirely redesigning the turret to include a more powerful gun than the insufficient 90mm, but Great Leader Vidal declared the tank "good enough for what we will make of it", approved by Marshal Tukhachevsky, who, together with Commissar Krylova, declared the improvements Mikulenko had designed an "unneeded luxury". Commissar Karu, from the Commissariat to Industry, also warned against "unnecessary refinments that would only impede full-scale production of the tank".
Hence, the LV-43 entered service in December 1968. Chief engineer Mikulenko was shot five months later under the accusation of "sabotage and deviationism", while his creation's production was reaching full swing. The LV-43's design soon proved particularly successfull, both on the battlefield, as a tough and versatile tank, and in the assembly lines, where its simple design allowed a fast transformation of the existing factories and a massive production of the new tank in a very short amount of time.
Technical featuresEditThe LV-43 shares many design features with other tank designs of Vidalian origin. Some of these are viewed as deficiencies in a straight comparison to foreign tanks, but most are a product of the way these tanks were envisioned to be employed, based on the Vidalian's strategy of the "Black Tide".
The LV-43 is extremely lightweight, at forty-one tonnes, and very small compared to the majority of his counterparts. Some of the roads and bridges in Vidalia are actually designed such that LV-43s can travel along in formation, but foreign tanks could not pass at all, or just one-by-one, significantly reducing their mobility. The basic LV-43 is relatively underpowered, with a 780 hp (580 kW) supercharged version of the basic 500 hp (370 kW) V-12 diesel engine block originally designed for its early ancestor the LV-19. The tracks run on large-diameter road wheels, which allows for easy identification of the LV-43. Ride comfort is reported as poor compared to other tanks equipped with hydrodynamic suspension, but such a bourgeois notion is not considered in the Free Motherland of the Workers and the Soldiers.
The LV-43 is designed to cross rivers up to 5 m (16 ft) deep submerged using a small diameter snorkel assembled on-site. If the engine stops underwater, it must be restarted within six seconds, or the LV-43's engine compartment becomes flooded due to pressure loss. The mechanical failure rate during river crossing is so high, however, that most crews do not engage in this hazardous endeavour.
Nuclear, biological, and chemical protectionEdit
The basic LV-43 is not issued with any kind of these expensive systems, in order to simplify its functioning, and reduce the production costs and time. The advanced model that is issued to the Guard has a comprehensive nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection system. The inside of both hull and turret is lined with a synthetic fabric made of boron compound, meant to reduce the penetrating radiation from neutron bomb explosions. The crew is supplied clean air via an extensive air filter system. A slight over-pressure prevents entry of contamination via bearings and joints. Use of an autoloader for the main gun allows for more efficient forced smoke removal compared to traditional manually-loaded ("pig-loader") tank guns, so NBC isolation of the fighting compartment can, in theory, be maintained indefinitely.
Like all Vidalian tanks, the LV-43's design has traded off interior space in return for a very small silhouette and efficient use of armour, to the point of replacing the fourth crewman with a mechanical loader. The smaller complement increases the crew's mental and physical exhaustion. The small interior also demands the use of shorter crewmen, an issue settled by the recruitment of all the soldiers in the Worker's Armed Forces at the age of 17, and by the very low survival rate of the average vidalian tankist. The basic LV-43 design has extremely small periscope viewports, even by the constrained standards of battle tanks and the driver's field of vision is significantly reduced when his hatch is closed. The steering system is a traditional dual-tiller layout instead of the steering wheel or steering yoke common in other modern tanks. This set-up requires the near-constant use of both hands, which complicates employment of the five speed manual gearbox.
The LV-43 turret is made from conventional cast armour. It is believed the maximum thickness is 280 mm (11 in), the nose is about 80 mm (3 in) and the glacis of the new laminated armour is 200 mm (8 in) thick, which when inclined gives about 500–600 mm (20–24 in) thickness along the line of sight. Guard-issued LV-43s feature composite armour protection, or even explosive reactive armour (ERA), which increased protection primarily against HEAT type weapons.
The LV-43 is equipped with a 90mm main gun, whose armour penetration is generally regarded as relatively low. In the best-equipped units, the gun is capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles, as well as standard main gun ammunition, including HEAT.
The main gun of the LV-43 has a theoretical maximum firing distance of 8,100 m, but the poor training of the crews, associated with the lack of a suitable aiming device limits the use of the LV-43's gun to a range of 2000 m, and closer. Actually, Vidalian instructors and officer recommand engaging the enemy within 700 m, when naked eye aiming becomes efficient. The gun is fitted with an integral pressure reserve drum, which assists in rapid smoke evacuation from the bore after firing. However, frequent malfunctions leading to the jamming of the main gun have drawn most of the crews to remove this system. Additionnaly, rumours have been reported by the Salviatian Abwehr that the recoil of the 100 mm gun could damage the fully mechanical transmission of the LV-43.