Thunder Gear Sidestory: Snake Eater/Shagohod
[b]Height:[/b] [CLASSIFIED] (Estimated around 57 meters long by 20.5 meters tall by 16 meters wide [including rear module; length is estimated at 17 meters long without rear module])
[b]Modular Construction:[/b] The Shagohod is built around 2 main body modules. The front module houses the main propulsion and weapons, while the rear module houses the IRBM launchers, rocket boosters, fire-control radars, and the air cushion system that allows the whole unit to maneuver quickly, even with it's massive bulk.
[b]Air Cushion:[/b] The rear module of the Shagohod generates a cushion of air that the whole rear unit sits upon, reducing it's effective weight. This allows the front module to maneuver as if the massive rear module wasn't there.
[b]Rocket Boosters:[/b] The Shagohod is equipped with a set of rocket boosters to allow it to get up to over 300 km/h, in order to act like an extra "stage" for it's IRBMs, dramatically increasing their range to ICBM levels.
[b]Dual Cockpit:[/b] The Shagohod was designed to be driven by a gunner and a driver, however it is also configured to function with only one pilot.
[b]Drill Augers:[/b] Unlike normal tanks, the Shagohod isn't propelled by treads, but instead it's a screw-propelled vehicle using 2 solid drill augers to move the massive vehicle forward. When in full drive, the augers lock into place and rotate to provide forward motion. When more fine control is required, the Shagohod can raise up to "walk" in a fashion on the tips of the augers. Due to their size, the augers can also be used as weapons; either be ramming the enemy at top speed, or by using them as clubs and grinding down the enemy unit.
[b]Дегтярёва-Шпагина Крупнокалиберный:[/b] Also known as the DShK 1938 or Degtyaryov-Shpagin Large-Calibre. While normally vehicle towed for anti-aircraft work, the Shagohod had numerous DShK turrets mounted around it's frame for anti-aircraft and anti-personnel use. It's 12.7x108mm rounds are about the same size as the standard US .50 caliber, however the sheer volume of fire that the Shagohod can lay down makes this weapon dangerous against walking tanks as well.
[b]9K112 Kobra Surface-to-Air Missiles:[/b] A modification of the normal 9K112 Kobra missiles, the ones mounted on the Shagohod were intended to be used against aircraft instead of tanks, so they sacrificed some warhead payload for flight speed.
[b]125mm Volley Gun:[/b] Not counting the IRBM, the 125mm Volley Gun is the main weapon of the Shagohod. Housed in an armoured compartment within the main body, the Volley Gun is a set of 10 D-81T 125mm smoothbore guns that can either fire all at once for a devastating strike, or in a cycle for continuous firepower. The armoured compartment that the Volley Gun is housed in is one of the few weakpoints of the Shagohod, however.
[b]ракета средней дальности «Пионер»:[/b] Also known as the Medium-Range Missile "Pioneer", or the SS-20 "Saber" to the West. The Pioneer is an intermediate range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload. The normal range of the Pioneer is about 5000 km, however with the additional rocket "stage" that the boosted Shagohod was designed to provide, the missile can reach distances greater then 8000 km, allowing the Shagohod to strike nearly anywhere the Soviet Army wanted. The Pioneers for the Shagohod used a single, 1 megaton nuclear warhead.
[b]Technical and Historical Notes[/b]
The Шагоход (Shagohod) was built to be the future of nuclear weapon deployment. Unlike conventional ICBM silos which are large and hard to conceal from satellites or spies, the Soviet Army wanted a weapon that could be hidden in hangars, caves, or underground bunkers, then spring out when needed to launch a nuclear strike. Two competing designs were proposed to meet this requirement; the massive tank "Shagohod" produced by Nikolai Stephanovich Sokolov, and the massive walking tank "Metal Gear" produced by Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin. Sokolov's Shagohod would prove to be much simpler mechanically to produce then the Metal Gear, and so it was ready for testing first. Unfortunately, during the events surrounding the Shagohod testing, Granin was killed, causing the development of the Metal Gear to stall for years.
More then a simple tank, the massive Shagohod is almost a mobile fortress. It's armour is impenetrable to small arms fire, and almost so to most walking tank explosives. It wields massive anti-personnel, anti-WT, and anti-aircraft weapons, and can even launch nuclear ballistic missiles at any range. The Shagohod's only weaknesses are it's slower move speed when not equipped with the rear module, it's large turn radius, and a few weak armour joints such as around the augers and volley gun. In normal operational use, these weaknesses would have been irrelevant, however they ended up proving fatal to the Shagohod in single combat against Naked Snake and his Special Operations Wolverine.