Danho Type-D 'Duster' Vehicle in The 12 Worlds | World Anvil
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Danho Type-D 'Duster'

Wartime Workhorse

  Designed and primarily produced by Danho Industrial Group, the Danho Type-D 'Duster' is a family of multi-purpose, four wheel drive heavy trucks that saw extensive service in both the military and civilian fields. The first Duster would enter the market in 65 A.S., while the last would leave DIG's production lines in 81. Examples of the model would, however, still be in widespread use for over a decade past that date. An improvement on the commercially middling Type-C "Cartwright" series of light weight utility trucks, the Duster would be produced in far greater numbers, and would have the distinction of being the first piece of the modern, motorised United Commonwealth Army that would enter the Chainbreaker War. Dusters would serve throughout the conflict at every front of every theater, hauling freight, troops, and heavy equipment where it was needed.   By the end of that five year long conflict, just shy of a million Dusters of every make and model would enter military service. The resulting stockpile drawdowns that came with demobilisation would see four fifths of that fleet dumped onto the civilian economy, already running hot from years of frenetic wartime activity. So prolific was the vehicle in the post-Chainbreaker United Comonwealt that Danho would continue to produce parts, kits, and upgrade packages for it for over a decade after the last truck left the production line. The company itself would grow off the back of this success and that of other designs manufactured during the war, emerging from it as an undisputed titan of Commonwealth industry.      


Ever since its founding in 52 A.S., DIG had been a pioneering player the Commonwealth's burgeoning motor vehicles sector. While the company avoided competing in the cut throat world of personal automobiles, within six years of its founding it had secured for itself a sizeable share of the commercial vehicles market. By then, DIG was on its third model of lorry, the Type-C 'Cartwright'. While the previous two vehicles in the family had been knock out successes, the Cartwright would prove to be rather more disappointing.   The Type-C's most notable attribute was its a novel suspension and drive system, an innovative technology that DIG's engineers had introduced on the model.
Though expensive, it provided excellent rough road and passable off-road capabilities to the Cartwright, leading to the vehicle's marketing as suitable for use in austere or underdeveloped environments. However, it's lackluster carrying weight of just over a tonne would prove to limit the lorry's commercial viability, and left its expensively engineered suspension mostly underutilised. A true heavy duty truck, sturdily built with the same proprietary suspension as the Cartwright, was thus deemed to be in urgent need to make up for this apparent failure and seize onto that promising market.   Initial design work on this successor would begin in 63 A.S.


Despite their base of technical expertise and the sizeable budget at their disposal, DIG's design bureau faced two major challenges, imposed on them mostly by their highly ambitious leadership. The first was comparatively simple, if not easy. The lorry, already classed as the Type-D, was to have a minimum carrying capacity of three tonnes, twice that of DIG's closest existing competition. While dedicated transport haulers of this weight class had never yet been made, it was deemed an achievable goal.   The source of these engineers woes, however, came for the instructions that the actual cargo bed of the lorry was to, by some means, be made compatible with a wide range of specialised kits and equipment that were to be designed and manufactured simultaneously. In previous makes of lorry, if a vehicle was to be outfitted with anything other than the standard flat bed, the customer would have had to request such a permanent modification to their vehicles on the factory floor. This sudden and unexpected specification was intended to make the Type-D an adaptable platform that could suit the needs of any customer with on-demand alterations. In the meantime, this requirement's complexity and the fact that it was introduced a full six months into the lead design team's work would infuriate the engineers involved to no end.      


The Type-D would debut at the Langford Motor Fair of 65 A.S., to much acclaim from competitors and customers alike. There, its marketing name, 'Duster', would be made known for the first time in a bold declaration of the lorry's speed and ruggedness. Over two thousand Dusters would be sold by the end of that same year, alongside several hundred extra payload kits. Happily enough for company executives, the lorry would succeed in the same market that the Cartwright had not. Dusters would be seen plying rough dirt tracks in a dozen lands, carrying loads of every kind where rail lines didn't reach and lesser vehicles couldn't cross.   The next year, however, would see the entrance of a new and unique customer into the automobile market; the United Commonwealth Army.   The entrance of the UCA into the world of the internal combustion engine was a slow, painful, and messy process. Rather than any opposition towards modernity and technology itself, it was the sheer scale and lack of centralisation that much of the UCA operated in which had proven a perennial obstacle against any kind of root and branch change. Most experiments in motorisation until 67 A.S. relied on the individual initiative of the Army's various Military Districts and Service Corps, working to improve the state of the forces under their own jurisdictions. No singular, concrete effort at motorising the entirety of the Army had even been conceived until this point, and under less driven leadership the UCA may very well have entered the Chainbreaker War entirely on foot and horseback.   Some people, however, had other plans. One of these was the venerable Field Marshal Paul Taklishim, the Acueran-Weslich born former General Officer Commanding, Field Forces, who in 65 A.S. was appointed Chief of the General Staff. Replacing the aging Albish officer John Fremont in that office, his appointment had much to do with his reputation as a die hard moderniser with a nose for sniffing out which programmes would meaningfully improve the Army's capabilities, and which would simply burn a hole through the budget. One of his first steps as CGS was the founding of the Office of Army Research and Development, to act as the scientific and technical heart of his modern force and a highly visible symbol of his intentions as 'the Chief'. The next year, in 66, he would make waves within the ranks and the political scene by submitting a request to Parliament for the purchase of ten thousand of the newest lorry on the market, the Type-D Duster.      


While it would be Marshal Taklishim's name on the request to Parliament, the decision to procure the Duster was made on the input of numerous parties and actors within the UCA and the civilian Directorate of the Army which ran it. If the CGS played his part in the general drive towards modernity and uniformity across his Army, it fell to one Major General Faiz al-Saqr to hammer out the specifics when it came to how these new technologies would be implemented by the Army's future fighting formations. A career soldier almost as old as the Chief himself, al-Saqr was if anything an even harsher critique of the Army's sluggish and muddied approach to modernity. He would be personally commissioned by the CGS, a personal friend, to formulate a series of plans to convert an Army of over a million and a half spread across eight continents into one ready to fight the war everyone knew was coming.   Under the rearmament and reorganisation plan that was ultimately implemented, priority for motorisation would be given to the Corps of Quartermasters, Artillery, and Engineers, owing to the more materially intensive nature of their respective fields. At the same time, a division sized force of Infantry and Cavalry, with attached units from other branches as needed, was to be formed for the purposes of experimentation to explore how motorised vehicles could be used by the Army's two fighting arms. In sum, by 73 A.S. the Army planned on having a minimum of thirty 'Motor Trains' battalions, twenty Field Artillery battalions, and twenty Engineer battalions of various types entirely converted to motor vehicles and absent from their existing horses, alongside the nine Infantry and three Cavalry battalions of what was tentatively being titled the 'Trials Mobile Force'. Where possible, smaller scale attempts at motorisation would also be pursued within the Army's other Service Corps, but not at the expense of the above programmes.   When it came to deciding on a vehicle with which to equip these newly formed battalions, the Duster may as well have been heaven sent. Its ability to run in rough terrain and in austere environments already made it a top contender above the competition, but the Type-D's adaptable payload system was what really sealed the deal. While somewhat popular in the civilian market, in an Army which at the time was procuring motor vehicles as much for experimentation as practical use the ability to reorient its whole fleet to suit changing requirements was deemed beneficial enough to practically guarantee that DIG would receive the contract, despite the Duster's marginally greater per unit cost. When it came to the soft factors, some utility was also found in having a universal class of vehicle for the whole force when it came to maintenance, crew training, and spare parts.   Privately, al-Saqr and other theorists had a great interest in the battlefield utility of the system as well should war break out before a second generation lorry be acquired. If, it was suggested, there was a shortage of one particularly vital class of motor vehicle in the force, it would be quicker and easier to modify vehicles previously serving in other roles for the task than to suffer that capability's absence until replacement vehicles arrived.   An unfortunate obstacle would delay the Army's plans by almost a whole year, in the form of the sizeable civilian orders for the Type-D that already existed and Danho's comparatively limited manufacturing base. While that limited capacity was still growing exponentially, for several months the UCA would receive only a trickle of the vehicles it ordered, barely enough to outfit half of the three Service Corps' planned motorised battalions and forcing the TMF to share a single battalion's worth of trucks twelve ways. This twelve would quickly become nine, when the decision was made to axe assignment of lorries to the force's three cavalry battalions. In theory, they were to be replaced by some form of off road capable motor car modified for military use, but this plan would never come to pass.   The shortage in vehicles would prove deeply unfortunate for less obvious reasons, albeit with at least one silver lining. Any pretenses of allowing, say, the Army Medical Corps or the Signals Corps, to experiment with motorising their units were unceremoniously axed. This procurement misstep was more than enough to earn the ire of Parliament's Standing Committee on Defence, which began painful inquiries into what was criticised as being rushed processes and planning. The final report that the SCD would submit to Parliament, however, would turn out to be surprisingly farsighted. The committee recommended that Parliament make long term plans to invest not just in equipment procurement for the Army and Navy, which was experiencing its own difficulties, but also in directly assisting the associated military industrial base more directly in terms of funding and the cryptically titled field of 'crisis planning and response'. The effects of these proposals would soon ripple across the entirety of the United Commonwealth's vast industrial base, but for the purposes of Army motorisation resulted in the service being legally prioritised over civilian bidders for future production, and significant investments in expanding DIG's own industrial capacity.   With these expanded legal powers in hand, and with funding now far more readily available, motorisation kicked into high gear. The Army's initial order for ten thousand vehicles would be met before the start 70 A.S. after much agony, and going into the next decade that fleet would double. While TMF's Cavalry was now firmly set on keeping its battalions lorry free, its Infantry and supporting echelons were entirely motorised, and under al-Saqr's personal leadership training began at pace to see what this new force could do. Additional battalions within the Quartermaster Corps, and the Corps of Engineers and Artillery, would be reequipped with Dusters, and eventually other arms received enough lorries to motorise limited numbers of their own units.      

Break Out

By 75 A.S., the eruption of the Upepwani Secession, and the start of the Chainbreaker War, the worst of the UCA's modernisation programmes had passed. The Trials Mobile Force had been declared an operationally ready formation two years prior, and efforts to raise additional formations in the same style were in the works. Nonetheless, despite the mountains of time and resources invested into the effort, large swathes of the Army still existed in almost total ignorance of the internal combustion engine, and leadership were making plans that stretched into the 80s when it came to completing the comprehensive overhaul of the force.   The outbreak of the first 'great power' conflict in Commonwealth history did much to complicate these carefully laid plans. Under a modified version of pre existing war plans, the now Lieutenant General al-Saqr led the force he had trained and honed in his image for years, now titled the United Commonwealth Army of Upepwani, onto the shores of the rebellious Fuhrati province to fight in its defence against a far larger invading force. While further mobilisation plans swung into gear and the great armies of the Commonwealth readied themselves to enter the fight, al-Saqr's motorised force savaged the ranks of the Emperor's Legions alongside their local allies.   In these openijg acts of the war, Dusters distinguished themselves as the bedrock of the Army's tactical sustainment and distribution system. While Upepwani's UC-sponsored rail network was expansive, leaders of both camps intended on keeping their enemy at arms length, and thus it fell to the lorries to bridge those last crucial kilometres to bring soldiers and shells from the railheads to the frontlines en masse and at speed. They performed well even on Upepwani's poor countryside roads, and in a few key instances were used to move infantry and guns across the battlefield itself. The decision to ensure that TMF's supporting arms were motorised proved quite literally life saving, in the form of motorised field ambulances bringing the wounded to the rear faster than ever before.   Ultimately, a host of factors would combine to shape the course of events as they unfolded in that 'Butcher's Autumn', of which motorisation was one amongst many. When the fighting died down with the coming of a harsh winter, both sides withdrew towards their own lines to repair and reflect. To al-Saqr, now confirmed as General Officer Commanding of all future Commonwealth forces in the theatre of operations, one thing was sharply clear; the army he was going to command was going to be a motorised one. Field Marshal Taklishim agreed, and the changes he would inflict upon the Army would come to define it for generations to come. For the moment, the Danho Type-D Duster would have a key part to play in these plans.

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Dec 16, 2023 11:03

I like to imagine that Danho is a korean name so that immediately makes me like it. Also I have a soft spot for unassuming, reliable vehicles that just work:tm:. It seems to me that it as probably much more expensive than the Type C, but its ability to actually carry substantial cargo offroad probably sealed the deal. I picture the adaptable payload system as more useful to the military than civilians, if only because how many people really have a garage for all five truck beds you might maybe use someday :D   FM Taklishim seems like the kind of bold leadership Adm Nimitz was during ww2, in terms of introducing new technologies that will radically change the military, and that's pretty cool. I suspect the Type D is a bit too expensive to be turned into a technical, but it's quite neat that they were able to use it as a makeshift infantry transport vehicle during the rebellion. Flexible little bugger.

Dec 16, 2023 12:27

Thank you for the comment! Reading through some stuff nnie sent my way, sounds like you've got a good set of writing hands when it comes to mil. stuff yourself!   And you're spot on, Danho comes from a nation/society with significant Korean associations. The specifics of what I mean by that, are currently a secret!   Correct, to be quite honest I don't imagine the adaptable payload gets as much use in civilian work as DIG would've liked, but the Army loved it. I elaborated on that stuff in some other sections I've cut for now, but which will make an appearence ASAP. The Duster cost a pretty penny more than the Cartwright did, but the Type-C really was a hunk of scrap compared to its replacement.   Good eye with Taklishim, I've always thought Nimitz doesn't get enough credit, and I suppose that's bled into my idea of a 'good' military leader. Gets seen a bit with al-Saqr too I think, since he's the actual 'field commander' in the heat of it in addition to his tech-whiz side. And no, no technicals I'm afraid, though they do wind up mounting a quick firing 20mm anti air gun on it which turns out to be mighty useful against ranks of line infantry in the open. As you said, a flexible little bugger ;)

Jan 9, 2024 15:03 by K.S. Bishoff

This is very well done! I like that you went so much into the story of each stage from origin to break out. No images or technical stats yet it's a great read and an engaging study

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