|A BTMIII Mk1. Notice the visible seam at the bottom of the glacis plate.|
|Role||Versatile battle tank|
|Armor||250 / 150 / 25|
|Primary Armament||x 1 75mm Cannon|
|Secondary Armament|| x 1 7.62 mm MG (Coaxial)
x 1 7.62 mm MG (Commander's mount)
|Powerplant||x2 11.0L I3 Diesel|
|Top Speed||20 MPH (22 with fuel)|
The spectacular failure of the BTM II lead to two major realizations. First, naked-eye-only fire-control systems would be woefully inadequate in actual combat situations. The reliance on a spotting machine gun lead to aiming times of up to thirty seconds for a stationary, exposed target. Second, flat-plate armor was simply a terrible choice for serious levels of protection.
The BTM III was developed with these two facts in mind. The tank was to be capable of accurate fire out to 500 yards minimum, with rapid acquisition of commander-designated targets. The tank would also make good use of sloped armor to improve effective thickness and the chance of rounds ricocheting.
The BTM III is an good all-around performer. Though mainly intended for tank-on-tank engagements beyond 100 yards in open terrain, it has the speed to maneuver and the armor to hold it's own in a brawl. This, of course, means it is not particularly outstanding in any one field.
The BTM III has room for four crew members. A driver (seated in the left front hull) handles manuvering. A radio operator (seated in the right front hull) handles transmitting targets to and receiving targets from other tanks; this position is often omitted to free up mass and server resources. A gunner, seated in the left side of the turret, handles aiming and firing the main cannon and coaxial machine gun. A commander, seated in a hatch in the right side of the turret, handles spotting of targets. He also has access to a 360-degree pintle-mount machine gun for anti-infantry purposes.
The tank can be operated fine with a single crew-member; additional members simply allow each member to focus on one task. This multi-man arrangement does lead to increased space needed to house the crew.
Fire control Edit
The BTM III features an accurate fire control system to allow it to rapidly engage distant targets. The commander simply clicks on a target to send its range and bearing to the gunner. The gunner then turns the turret to the indicated bearing and uses the mil-spotting marks on his crosshair to correctly set the gun's elevation. This allows for consistent first-shot hits up to 600 yards in testing conditions.
BTM III/X Edit
Experimental prototype. The main difference was the use of a short-barreled 100mm cannon in place of the 75mm cannon. Muzzle velocity and accuracy, however, proved to be unacceptable.
BTM III Mk2 Edit
Incremental improvement over the original model. The armor arrangement was redistributed, the turret's vulnerable MG-ammo turret bustle was removed, the internal ammunition capacity was upgraded from 24 AP and 6 HE to 36 AP and 7 HE, and a smoke launcher was added to allow the tank to conceal itself on short notice. The large external fuel tanks mounted on the back of the tank were also removed, since new HEAT rounds were able to instantly detonate these tanks and destroy or cripple the treads or engine.
BTM III/100 Edit
By the time the tank was complete, this armament upgrade had turned into a complete overhaul.
The tank's fighting compartment was upgraded with composite armor. This armor composition allows the tank to shrug off most rounds from 100mm cannons on down. In addition, it is essentially immune to infantry weapons in the front and side sectors, and several weakpoints allowing a catastrophic-kill from the rear have been remedied.
The new 100mm cannon has drastically improved the tank's lethality. The tank is capable of penetrating most comparable tank's side armor and many tank's frontal sectors. The tank's magazines hold a total of 28 rounds.
Crew Configuration Edit
The crew configuration has been heavily optimized, leading to the entire tank being commanded by a single crew member.
The BTM III/100 was a serious improvement over the standard BTM III; however, the chassis had clearly reached its limit. Even with a modest increase of 5 tonnes, powertrain and stability issues began to present themselves.