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The Mealltach Reconnaissance Tank was introduced in 1950 as a supplement to the Dobhareach Amphibious Tracked Vehicle and a replacement of the Ruathar Fast Tank. They fulfilled a similar role during the times of the Cosaint MBT and became the SDF-Army's sole 'tank' aside from the Crogall Amphibious Armoured Vehicle. The Mealltach was planned and used as a reconnaissance vehicle and optimized for that role as well.

In 1985, the last units were decommissioned with the SDF-Army, but they are still operated by the Seabhac, the Sensha-Do Team of the Binn Boarding School Complex near Launceston. Aside from that, the Museum of Armoured Warfare in Maleth has two Mealltachs in working condition.

Design

Inspired by the massive Kyrenaian Muharib Infantry Tank, several engineers and planners in the Free Lands began to think about a smaller, albeit equally heavily armed platform, which would be able to withstand the newer versions of the Squartatore Assault Tanks and their heavier Modello di artiglieria di fanteria del 1928. Projected, at first, were 80 mm of sloped frontal armour, but the vehicle proved to be too heavy.

In the final production model, 50 mm of sloped front armour at 50 degrees, with 30 mm thick plates on the sides and rear and 23 mm belly plates. To increase the cross-country performance, the vehicle was fitted with 660 mm wide tracks, similar to the ones used on the Muharib Infantry Tank, and wider then the originally projected 500 mm wide tracks. This led to a better distribution of weight and thus allowed the vehicle to move, where other tanks did not dare to tread. The turret was cast.

To facilitate easier movement on ice and snow, rubber blocks could be fixed to all track elements, using one pin to easily install and remove these.

For the Gabha G-18 47mm Anti-Tank Gun, 50 rounds were carried. In addition to the optical rangefinders, the commander could also rely on a night vision device, creating a distinctive bump on the turret roof.

Mark II

The biggest change of Mark II, introduced in 1963, was a new main armament, as the G-18 was rather insufficient against heavier tanks - while the Mealltach was not designed to defend itself against tanks, the 47mm gun was still insufficient. First experiments with the Gabha G-80 76mm Gun proved successful and, due to financial constraints, the project to develop and install a 90 mm or even larger gun were abandoned. With the new gun assembly also came a new stabilization system, allowing more effective firing while on the move.

In addition, the Mealltach received a new coaxial machine gun, a heavier MGHM 1953, soon to be added was a second MGHM 1953 at the commander's cupola. While this unofficial modification was made official in the Mark III version, both proved their worth in Kupandukira. Another field modification were the armoured skirts added to the sides to protect the upper tracks, but these field modifications were never made official.

Also new with the Mark II was a new rangefinding system, a optical system using two optics to triangulate the distance to the target using simple mathematics. Two bumps on either side of the gun mantlet hide this system. A small electric motor was used to unveil their view.

The Mark II Version was also fully protected against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Mark III

One of the biggest changes to Mark III was the new rangefinding system, a new laser-rangefinder being added.

Mark IV

Mark IV was to be up-armoured with high-hardness armour, the addition of a computerized fire-control system and the addition of

Overview

Model Weight Main Armament Secondary Armament Speed Engine In frontline Service Notes
Mark I 22 tons G-18 47mm Anti-Tank Gun, 8x smoke grenade launchers 1x R-22 MG (coaxial) 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel 1950-1965 First production run
Mark II 23 tons G-80 76mm Gun 1x MGHM 1953 (coaxial), 8x smoke grenade launchers 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel 1963-1972
Mark III 23 tons G-80 76mm Gun 2x MGHMs 1953 (1 coaxial, 1 commander's hatch), 8x smoke grenade launchers 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel 1970-1985
Mark IV 25 tons G-80 76mm Gun 2x MGHMs 1953 (1 coaxial, 1 commander's hatch), 8x smoke grenade launchers 55 km/h on roads 750 hp Diesel Never introduced into service
AA-Mealltach 20 tons 2x G-116 Revolver Cannons, 8x smoke grenade launchers N/A 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel 1955-1985
Armoured Engineer Vehicle 25 tons Dozer shovel, excavator arm 1x MGHM 1953 (commander's hatch) 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel 1953-1985
Mortar Carrier 23 tons 1x MHM 1961, 8x smoke grenade launchers N/A 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel 1965-1985
Command Tank 20 tons 1x MGHM 1953 (commander's hatch), 8x smoke grenade launchers 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel Only prototypes, all scrapped
Artillery Observation Vehicle 20 tons 1x MGHM 1953 (commander's hatch), 8x smoke grenade launchers 45 km/h on roads 550 hp Diesel Only prototypes, all scrapped

Service History

The Threat of the Gruppo di Attacco di Cavalleria Pesante

Humanitarian Mission of the SDF to Kupandukira (1965-1975)

Unrest of 1975

Second Vellenge War (1983)

Sensha-Do

The Mealltach experienced a revival in popularity in the sport of Sensha-Do, both the Binn Boarding School Complex Sensha-Do Team and the Naval School Sensha-Do Team (since 2020) fielding these vehicles. While both teams use Mark IIs, they do also have Mark IIIs, but not in sufficient numbers to form a full squadron.

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