DO NOT put your supporting elements up in the van and then expect them to survive first-contact engagements. Their entire mission in life is to
deliver plunging attacks on threats which FIX THEMSELVES trying to bushwack your lead armor team. If you cannot stand the notion that that lead force
is then effectively being used as bait, you'd bloody well better pull the men out of those vehicles.
I'll agree that UGVs are probably better for this kind of exchange because it's okay if the first shot kills your
saving you the need for armored protection (no one dies if it's destroyed) - as long as you're
left with enough guns to fire back. But I can't see a walking vehicle having any advantage over a wheeled/tracked platform.
Walking vehicles have men. Men can be commanded by generals on the facetious assumption that 'only an expert' will not throw their lives away (and
maybe if you live long enough, you can become a general too). ROVs are 'commanded' by tech specialists who can give their loyalty to a civillian
commander by-contract as much as by fiat. The Generals realize this. And are scared pissless of being rendered obsolescent in their own pointless
Men who /get to the fight/ can do things that Armor which _does not_, cannot. Thus you have the benefits of a manned system on the acquisition side
of the chain of command. And the benefits of a _deployable_ armor system for the operational one.
Whether these devices are seen more as extra-large exoskeletons (man wears it). Or as vehicles unto themselves (man sits in it) remains to be
I think that the first units to employ these will again, not be elements close to the fight but ones already on the periphery of warfighter
justification as airborne units about to be further displaced by 'objective/medium' combat brigades essentially all driving around on wheeled
Under such conditions, if you could _keep the weight down_, while providing superior mobility to LIGHT INFANTRY deployment, you might have an edge
just large enough to survive. Because (by and large) you aren't fighting ATGW. You are fighting small arms. In this, the walker is replacing, if
anything, the old motorcycle units. Giving the man the ability to at least attempt to employ his weapons separate from the act of maintaining balance
and directional control of his mount.
The added height for "extended horizon" viewing is nice, but can easily be matched with a sensor mast, without exposing the entire platfrom while
"looking around." And when your sprinting mech trips at 40mph, it's falling a substantial distance before crunching into the ground. Not to say
tracked/wheeled vehicles don't flip or roll, but it's less likely and will cause less damage.
I agree about the masted system. Which is part of why my universal mount platform is on the top, above the cabin. Such lets the pilot 'swing low'
with decent top attack protection and the ability to shoot-over-roofs.
If they are 'elite troops' and ONE goes down, they morn and get drunk while secretly pleased to think that they would /never/ get into a situation
where they make that kind of stupid mistake.
If (on foot) they are caught like deer in the headlights of an ambush on the AfG border where NONE can blitz the ambush ring, then perhaps a whole
squad or Team is lost. If another unit plays cavalry-to-the-indians as a direct rescue insertion because they can't /run/ fast enough, from far
enough away, to break the ambush from the outside. Only to have their chopper also get gunned down in a preplanned flak trap.
Who is left to get drunk and carry on the tradition of believing it could never happen to them?
That said, IMO, the big factor for crash survivability is going to be having the cabin tear free before the rest of the machine comes down around it,
either crushing it directly or acting like a hammer to bash it into the ground. If you sit in a cabin between wide-stance legs CARRYING your cockpit
slung underneath a hardback, then the distance is lower. Even as the mini-forearms can help slow and stabilize the operator unit as a controlled skid
when body tilt indicates a fallover conditon is imminent. And sheer or explosive bolts can separate the driver from the legs pushing on over to the
ground when worse does come to worst.
And walking just isn't efficient. You've already converted from reciprocal to rotational motion (bouncing pistons => connecting rods => crank shaft)
or started with rotational (turbine => power out), why add weight and complexity to convert back? And why replace a wheel (nice and simple) with
joints, lever arms, and the complex INS and counterbalance systems needed to keep the thing upright at speed? For given requirements (speed and weight
carried) a wheeled/tracked solution is almost certainly going to be cheaper/lighter/simpler than a bipedal competitor over similar terrain.
A wheeled solution for a one-man elite infantry walker is going to be an ATV. And ATV, even on big balloon tires, puts all of about 4 square feet of
road-meets-rubber surface footprint down. And then, through the act of friction with deep tread, it tears /further/ into it's standing ground
displacement weight as it tries to accelerate forward from that same patch of snow/mud/water. Short of switching to bandtrack and hybrid drive on a
mini Bv206 or Viking, this is not efficiency.
OTOH, walking is actually _very_ efficient. Provided your stride length matches at least half the distance travelled by one rotation of ALL the
tires. And your compress-extend action is strong enough to generate a matching stride from the lagging foot as a function of plunging loads
(stamping) changing, through the act of compression, to a rotating load and then to a thrusting one.
In this, the bigger pad area of a walker translates to 6+ ft of grounded area _even on one foot_.
I admit there is an inherent weakness to the change from thrusting motion to rotary one. But no more so, IMO, than that of stepping down a highspeed
shaft through a transmission to a lower speed torque. And then redirecting one rotary axis of rotation through to another via a transaxle/universal
after 10-20ft of HEAVY drive shaft.
In this, I see the actual motive empowerment of the vehicle coming from dual electric motors running the hips. And a secondary hydraulic system
EXTENDING the shins. With the locomotive style eccentric drive shaft extending down to the knees _solely for timing_ on a free rotation joint that
follows the motion of the upper hip rotation on a sequenced cycle. The neat thing being the there is only a limited mechanical 'connection point'
between any or all of the drive systems and each can be located RIGHT AT the point where force is applied to generate motion. This distributes weight
in the same way that muscle groups on the human body does with hydraulic lines equating to blood vesseles in supplying individually redundant (two per
side behind armored greeves) smart-actuators for a purely mechanical 'bone' which is in fact a nested shock absorber strut of it's own.
If you have 'active suspension' inherent to energy recovery on the down thrust recharging the main leg and use the hydraulics solely for the 'quick
twitch' leap off acceleration, you may get very good mpg @ mph efficiencies.
Now, on Employment: