Guns of the Sunset Dawn

Of course, the Sunset Dawn wasn't designed to carry guns, she was designed as a sailing super yacht. But the crew came across a change that was too good to resist . They had their hands on thirty-six guns. Rheinmetall Rh120 L/55 was what was printed on the crates.

It was Eloise Morgan who first came up with the idea of arming the Antilope with the guns they found. Rose also had been thinking about what to do with the yacht for a while. The crew was a bit purposeless after the loss of their Captain, Peter James Jacobson. Jan de Jongh did a fine job leading them, but he wasn't a captain.
So Rose supported the idea to arm the Antilope. And with the support of two people, they decided to let it come to a vote. The result was a nice 75% of the votes in favour of starting this new adventure.

The pirates knew the Antilope couldn't have all the guns installed. That would be way too heavy. First, they sailed the Narwhal over to where they had anchored off the Antilope to get half the crew onboard her, then they sailed the Antilope back to the small cargo ship Achenor which they had taken as a price. They never intended to take the complete ship, just rob its stores, but of the four-man crew, two immediately surrendered, and the other two died in the firefight. So they had the whole ship whether they liked it or not.

After they had taken off all the cargo off the Achenor on to the Antilope, they followed Armani's instructions to find A.G. Trading. Where they sold off twelve of the thirty-six guns, as well as the electronics off all the guns, for the installation on the Dawn they didn't need them. And it turned out all the wires and print plates were actually way more valuable than the guns themselves too!

Installing the guns

The pirates had measured out that they could fit twenty-four guns inside the Antilope. Twelve on each side, eight on each side between fore and mainmast, and four pairs just aft of the mainmast, the ship was too narrow before the foremast, and more to the aft were all kinds of ducting and engineering compartments in the way. Honestly, they didn't need that many guns for some honest piracy work, but the Rule of Cool deemed to be too strong.

Because the Rh-120 is not designed as a naval gun, it was a tank gun. The system needed quite some alterations. For startes, the whole elevating and transvering gearing could go. They didn't have the sensors for target finding and tracking, nor the computer to do any form of aiming. Master at arms Heinrich von Bern told the crew that if you fired the gun within about half a nautical mile from the target, you could pretty much look down the barrel and aim it that way to get a hit.

They decided to approach the problem of installing the guns, as if they were a ship in the age-of-sail, and not bother at all with turning the guns sideways. If their tactic was going to be to close up on their prey, without showing they were pirates, and only in the last moments show the guns. They wouldn't need to do all that much aiming. Hell, they shouldn't even need to fire all the guns. Better not actually, because that would probably destroy the items they planned on liberating from the ship they were shooting at.

So they installed the guns on rails on the what now would be the gun deck of the Sunset Dawn. And they cut gun ports in the side of the hull, removing some of the previously installed port holes. Due to the guns being behind gun ports, the elevation is limited to +10° / -6°.

The ship made gun carriages were equipped with brakes that hold the carriage to the rails in whatever position the pirates desired. If the guns where rolled all the way inboard, the muzzle was just behind the gun port cover. The recoil of the gun was to be absorbed by the gun's own system of coil springs. They didn't intend to have the whole gun flying backwards like on the ships of the line of old.

Test fire

It took the crew two months to install all the guns to Heinrich's liking before he allowed one to be fired. In the meantime, they had other hunts on the Narwhal of course. They didn't work full time on the Sunset Dawn, which turned into some sort of a passion project.

Heinrich himself loaded the gun, he checked the brakes twice, looked over the top of the barrel, checked the breach. He really felt his reputation was on the line here. Together with the Engineer Bobby Smith he had calculated how much steel they had needed for the carriage, and made them according to those plans, as not to use too much weight. Heinrich really hoped the gun would not come flying backwards, or break free.

Most of the crew was on the gun deck surrounding Heinrich. He had modified the trigger, to be a pull rope trigger. Not that the pirates cared about safety, they'd happily push a button while standing behind the breech, the idiots. But the little string forced them to stand to the side to pull it.

The firing of the gun was to Heinrich, the very well known cracking sound, supported with the very low frequency boom. It was a bit louder than in his trusted Leopard 2, but not actually that much. The first test fire was a success. The birds on the uninhabited island had been silenced for a few minutes, but after a few minutes picked up their usual chatter.

Rheinmetall Rh-120 L/55

Smoothbore tank gun
120 mm (4,7 inch)
4.060 kg (9.170 lbs)
6,6 m (22 ft)
5.500 m (6.000 yards)
Muzzle velocity
±1.700 m/s (±5.577 ft/s)
- Rh-120 L/44
- Rh-130 L/51
Users of any variant
MBT Leopard 2, M1 Abrams, Type 90, Challenger 3 & K1A1
Related Items

Master at Arms

It was a stroke of luck that made Heinrich von Bern cross path with the pirates of the Narwhal. He had just four months before quit his job in the Austrian army and traveled the world on foot in search of adventure. He had spotted Rose in the Last Drop ale house and after enough drinks decided to ask her for a dance.

He didn't remember much of the night. They had danced and talked. She had asked all kinds of questions about his former job as a tank gunner. But in the morning, he woke up with an enormous headache and a message on his phone. "If you want true adventure, the Narwhal sails at noon."

Two days later, he stepped off the Narwhal on the decks of the Sunset Dawn, a ship like no other. Accepting the new job of Master-at-Arms, and taking care of the guns he knew so well.

Cover image: by Johannes Plenio


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Dec 8, 2022 16:48 by Soulwing

I loved the little nod at how the master at arms has installed the guns to be forced to fire them with safety measures. Adorable even, how he build in a child-proof method to protect the other pirates from their own ignorance.

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker.
Dec 12, 2022 08:32 by Bart Weergang

Thank you Soulwing :P

Jan 18, 2023 20:34

The rule of cool is indeed very strong, and you cant have to much dakka

Jan 18, 2023 23:30 by Bart Weergang