M247 Sergeant York

From 1d4chan
Its as derpy as it looks

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

– Thomas A. Edison

Really? We're really doing this? Fine.

The M247 is a SPAAG (Self-Propelled Anti-Air Gun) developed by the US Army as part of the DIVAD (DIVision Air Defense) Program. In theory, the M247 was going to replace the M163 VADS as the US Army's primary self propelled Anti-Air platform, but theories are such fragile things.

The M247 is armed with twin 40MM Bofors AA gun linked to an innovative search and track radar system in a friggin' massive turret balanced on top of a M48 chassis.

In Team Yankee[edit]

The Stats (from Bizzaro world)

In the Team Yankee Universe, apparently the M247 didn't turn out to be a dismal failure and in fact was well on its way to replacing the M163.

The M247 has the Dedicated AA & Radar Special rules, which means that it can use its full rate of fire when targeting aircraft and ignores the +1 to hit penalty when shooting at Aircraft beyond 16 inches.

In Addition, the Sergeant York is a little more tailored to the combat environment of Team Yankee than the other American SPAAG, the M163 VADS. See in Team Yankee, (And in reality often enough) SPAAGs tend to get pressed into combat as armoured fighting vehicles, a role the M247 is slightly better equipped to deal with then either the M163 or even it's nearest commie-competition the ZSU 23-4 Shilka. It may not be the Gepard you were hoping for, just a decent SPAAG.

First, the M247 has an extra armour point over the M163 on all facings and much more than the Shilka, with a front armour of 4, side of 3, and top of 1. Now, this does not mean that you should be driving these things into the teeth of Soviet AT positions, but it will do better against things like MGs and Artillery.

Also, the 40mm Bofors is slightly better at dealing with vehicles than the M168 Vulcan Gatling Gun. With an AT of 7, the Bofors is going to auto pen things with armour 0 and stand a decent chance of penetrating armour 2 (i.e. most APCs), and with a Fire Power 4+, you will be destroying your target half the time, rather than a third. The ROF, while halted, is not as good as the Gatling gun, only 5 to the M168s 7, and Shilka's 6, but they all have the same moving ROF, so make of that what you will.

You can take the M247 Sergeant York in your US armies as a platoon of 2, which will cost you 4 points, or as a platoon of 4, which will cost you 8.


One of the very few surviving examples

Where to start with this thing?

The M247 Sergeant York was developed by Ford Aerospace (A company that is better known for making cars rather than AA platforms, this story doesn't get much better think of it as a weaponized Pinto) in response to a US Army request for a Self Propelled AA gun that could keep up with the M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley at cruising speed. However, because someone in Procurement had a bug up his ass about reusing stuff that had been sitting in the spares bin, this new SPAAG had to be mounted on a M48 tank Chassis and use as many off the shelf parts as possible to keep R&D costs low. The ideal weapon for this practically kitbashed platform was determined to be the Bofors 40mm autocannon made famous by the Navy during WWII then pulled from ships that had been mothballed for three decades, and a couple more of the same pulled out of ancient M42 "Duster" self-propelled AA guns. To turn this relic into a viable weapon on the modern battlefield, it would be equipped with a shiny new (and very expensive) proximity fuzed ammunition using preformed tungsten shrapnel for fragmentation. Radar? Oh, that's the best part. They wanted to pull the ancient--even then--Westinghouse AN-APQ79 radars out of the noses of mothballed F4 Phantoms rusting in the desert at Davis-Monthan AFB, and somehow they were going to make this radar designed as a target tracking and missile illumination radar for jet fighters, somehow, by magic or wishful thinking or unicorn farts, or something, SOMEHOW they were going to bolt it onto a self-propelled antiaircraft gun and use it as a gun-laying radar, despite it not having been designed with that functionality.

The Army was particularly concerned about the threat of Anti Tank missile equipped enemy helicopters using "Pop-Up" tactics, where a helicopter hides behind terrain features to conceal it from AA fire, then pops up for just long enough to loose a missile, then ducks back into relative safety. The SPAAG the army was at the time using, the M163 VADS, could not pick up nor engage a helicopter before a missile was inbound, a problem the soviets definitely were not having with their ZSU 23-4 Shilka.

Ford Aerospace soon came back with the prototype for the M247. Their design was armed with the iconic 40mm Bofors AA gun linked to a search and targeting system derived from the radar equipment ganked from mothballed F-4 Phantom jets. After beating out an (arguably superior i.e its tracking Radar was copied from the Phalanx CIWS) design from General Dynamics. The M247 was approved for production and dubbed the "Sergeant York" after Alvin York, a hero of the Great War.

Here's where it gets interesting. The Army decided that it was high time to show off their shiny new toy and put together a demonstration in 1982, inviting VIPs, high ranking brass and the press to come and see. With everybody expectantly waiting, a target drone was launched and the radar was activated. Immediately the M247 swung its turret toward the grand stand, confirmed target lock, and cheerfully requested permission to fire.

After the resulting stampede of influential persons trying to get out of the line of fire was calmed down, it was determined that a glitch in the radar system was responsible for the dangerous error. A radar glitch that was caused, according to the representatives of Ford Aerospace, by the M247 being washed prior to the demonstration, to which a member of the press responded, "Don't they know that it tends to rain in Europe?"

The radar system was the bane of the M247. While it was a great system, in a plane in the sky--that was what it had been designed for in the first place, after all--it just did not work on the ground. Everything from trees, to latrine fans, to stationary targets, to the Sergeant York's own gun barrels when firing at extreme elevation threw the targeting system into a tizzy. It was noted at the time that even bolting on the primitive and obsolete range-only radar and fire control system from the VADS it was supposed to replace would have been an enormous improvement. Eventually Congress had to come down and cancel the funds for the M247 before any more money got sunk into the wreck. Decades later the Army would be forced to buy trailer mounted Phalanx units in to cover the gap left by the retirement of the VADS and the cancellation of the York. The lingering bad taste of this experience persists to this day. Almost forty years later there's still not a replacement for the VADS. No one wants to touch it.

Presumably the reason the York shows up is that the project was canceled the same year the Cold War goes hot: 1985. As the M163 VADS was always suppose to be a stop gap after the MIM 46 Mauler was canceled, the logic might have been they needed to get some kind of heavy SPAAG onto field: ASAP, the Duster being based on a light tank would have lacked in armor, while the York was suppose to advance with the tanks like the Commie ZSU 23-4 Shilka it was built to match. Hence why the York appears.

US Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: M1 Abrams - M60 Patton - M551 Sheridan - RDF/LT
Transports: M113 Armored Personnel Carrier - UH-1 Huey - AAVP7 - Bradley Fighting Vehicle
Troops: US Mech Platoon - Marine Rifle Platoon - Huey Rifle Platoon - HMMWV Machine Gun Platoon - Light Motor Infantry Platoon
Artillery: M106 Heavy Mortar Carrier - M109 Howitzer - LAV-M - M270 MLRS
Anti-Aircraft: M163 VADS - M48 Chaparral - M247 Sergeant York - HMMWV SAM
Tank Hunters: M901 ITV - HMMWV-TOW - LAV-AT
Recon: M113 FIST- M113 Scout Section - HMMWV Scout Section - LAV-25 - Bradley Fighting Vehicle
Aircraft: A-10 Warthog - AV-8 Harrier - AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter - AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter