“When they built the first few it was thought of as more or less a tension easing exercise. No one at the time really imagined these things would be going into combat. A few months later there I was driving number oh-eight down Henley Road towards a bunch of Hulegu marauders. You know they just stood there and stared, it was if they could not tell what the hell was coming their way. For months they had been bothering us for no good reason and now, we had the means to show them something like the fear they’d shown us. I don’t know if they were terrified or stunned or confused and I didn’t care, we opened up with the support gun and that was it. The next time however, wouldn’t you know the engine broke down in the middle of a charge and then...well, it got interesting.” - Charles F. Reed, Veteran of the war of 63.
Loud, unreliable and improvised described the type. The Savannah Lord had no set design or configuration; often it was improvised from a spare mining vehicle and armed with weapons that potentially were as dangerous to the crew as they were to the enemy. Many of these strange vehicles were powered by underpowered or flat unreliable internal combustion engines and they often fell apart, or broke down just getting to the fight. The armor plating on the designs of the type was comically random and almost a historical parallel to the seemingly random ways in which the Union Army would armor its river boats during the American civil war.
For all the short comings of the type the ‘Savannah Lords were immensely popular as morale boosting vehicles and the Hulegu seemed completely unable to comprehend just what the hell was making all that racket. The vehicles of the type originally sported a hand-cranked turret mounting some form of cannon which often was a electro-magnetic rivet gun with the safety features removed. Support weapons where often small arms fired through hatches and of course the vehicles characteristically loud engines which had a prominent psychological effect. It was often said that once you went Savannah Lord, you were liable to go deaf. The interiors of the vehicle were incredibly loud and thus crews resorted to hand signals and finally to the use of flash lights to signal each other. As with any good idea the Savannah lord would get better in the following years, as the local builders got better materials and more skill yet the vehicles of the type would always bear a sort of country bumpkin sort of culture about them even if they were a critical step in the front line militia apparatus towards the middle of their career.
With that said the Allied Motor Trade group took the initiative of designing a professionally built version of the original Savannah Lord for sake to the miners and colonists for their own defense against piracy. Up until this point AMT had little experience in vehicles over five tons, and yet somehow knocked together a much refined version of the unreliable original Savannah Lord in just three months’ time. The version pictured represents the AMT model though aside from what the vehicle was actually made of and the wide variance in its main gun roughly the AMT version looks exactly like the jerry-rigged original. A later inclusion of reactive armor blocks and a proper camouflage paint scheme as well as a fusion engine topped off the design maxing out its potential. Modern models bear a DRAIL howitzer which gives the vehicles significant anti fortification and vehicle firepower along with two light model DRAIL anti-personnel weapons.
Deployment (as of 2075)
Officially there are only four original model Savannah Lords still deployed with any organized forces within the Commonwealth. Most of the originals however are in museum collections and in private ownership as prized collectors’ items. Most of these vehicles however are not operational. A larger number of the AMT made models are in the hands of state sanctioned Militias, police organizations and even a few private security firms. No savannah Lord type tanks are used by the Military with the exception of a few included in permanent statue displays on military bases.