M112 Prism Tank
(Prisma in German Service)
Country: United States of America & Germany
Other User: Germany
Builder: Rheinmetall Landsysteme/ General Dynamics (Land Division)
Armament: 1x LM-57 DEW
As the war raged between the USA and USSR, American weapon designers began seeking any possible advantage to get the edge over the Soviets. Various ideas were considered. Many while ambitious were not practical for the current war effort. In late September of 1972, several members of the Rheinmetall Landsysteme came to the American government in its temporary capital of Ohio. The European Alliance had for the moment chosen to assume a policy of neutrality, officially. Unofficially Germany was one of several European nations willing to supply the Americans with covert assistance.
The R.L representatives presented the USA with designs for a new weapon system. It was a new directed energy weapon system, similar to a laser. Much of the work on the DEW had been done by Albert Eisenstein during his last few years of life. The famous World War II physicist had worked on a way to amplify the power of light by reflecting it off a series of prisms. However the first set of lasers and prisms he had to work with lacked the power needed to be an effective weapon. Too much energy was also required to start the process. Only large bulky generators could provide it. Eyestone abandoned the work shortly afterward.
Germany’s defense department had discovered this work again in the earlier that decade. Over the next five years they managed to research and develop a working prototype. It was fixed and mounted in a large tower. New lasers combined with a special artificial diamond prism inside the tower boosted the power incredibly of relativity low powered lasers. This DEW tower was simply called a Prisma by the German designers. In tests the tower could damage equipment and weaken armor. In wasn’t till a freak accident was the true power of the weapon.
One test involved two Prisma towers firing on a signal target. A computing error led to the first tower firing its beam not at the target tank but the other tower! Instead of damaging the tower, the beam went into the wrongly targeted tower’s emitter. It bounced off the prism inside and fired at the original tank target. In a flash the front of the target was melted and damaged. Further tests confirmed that the power of the Prisma beam was increased if the beams were fired between towers, bouncing off and gathering strength. If enough towers were linked they could destroy a heavily armored Leopard I tanks in a single blast. The system could also rapidly engage multiple targets.
To the United States a series of Prism Towers built into defensive lines could be a God send. American forces needed an edge against the mass Soviet tank forces advancing across the Midwest and Great Plains. RL was willing to provide their designs to the Americans for a price. Besides the finical cost, the U.S. would help design an AFV version of the Prism weapon. The M112 was the final result of German/American efforts. Containing a miniaturize Prism DEW turret, it also held a specially designed American power pack. This engine and power plant was able to provide enough energy for the vehicle and DEW. No fancy names were attached to the tank, simply being called the Prism Tank. GIs referred to them as PTs in short communications.
The Prism Tank was designed on a light IFV chassis. A drawback to its design was very weak armor. Nearly all the weight came from the special power pack that powered the M112. Only able to withstand some small arms fire, it was easy pickings for any Soviet AFV or even conscripts armed with RPGs. As a result the Prism was used mostly in a battlefield artillery role. With their long range the M112s could attack fixed Soviet targets from long range and pummel them with energy. Like their fixed tower cousins, the Prism Tanks could combine their fire for devastating affect. A receiver reflector at the rear of the DEW turret could receive a beam from another M112 or Prism Tower.
In defensive battles, groupings of M112s and Prism Towers could break up Soviet armored assaults. In the first deployments of the Prism systems Russian tankers had no clue what happened to them. Their reports frustrated Soviet commanders who couldn’t understand what happened. Finally a combination of field experience and information from the KGB revealed the true nature of the powerful white light. This began a frantic effort to duplicate the Prism technology. Soviet efforts failed due to a lack of understanding of the process and their poorer technology base. Plus American Special Forces destroyed the Prism research base in Mexico. Eventually the Soviets tried to eliminate the problem by staging air strikes against the Prism production sites in Germany and America.
These air strikes helped drive the Europeans into declaring war on the Soviet Union. Germany had already produced a number of Prism Tanks, called simply called Prisma. They were used by the German Army much in the same way as the USA. The tanks blew apart Soviet defense weapons and positions. Often the Prismas destroyed anti-aircraft weapons to bring in additional air support. Their battlefield role was limited. The Prism weapons could not accurately target aircraft. Most of the air to air kills came against Soviet helicopters. Despite their limitations the Prisms preformed well. A new generation of Prism vehicles and DE platforms are expected in the next few decades including ones for air defense and even ballistic missile protection.
So here’s my attempt at the Prism Tank. The chassis is a Marder IFV of the German Army. For the main weapon which gives the unit its name, I pretty much copied the one used in Red Alert 2. I did add a sight to it on the side. The large items in the back are from the in game Prism Tank. I just assumed that they are part of the power pack for the vehicle. Anyway not much else to say about it. Enjoy!