“One thing I find irksome about the background of Ogre is the lack of PE cybertanks before the Fencer, as I feel that they would have made some interim smaller models before jumping into producing a large Ogre variant of their own.”
That got me thinking…
1.0 PE Cybertank Development
Paneurope engineers worked diligently to create their own cybertanks long before the first Fencer was fielded. The PE designs focused on two weapon systems: a dual-secondary turret and a “launch tube” system with internal missiles – both of which were later used on many of their units.
Believing that the Mk. I was too small (the superheavy was a better investment), the initial PE plans were for a cybertank approximately the size of the Mk. II. It would include two secondary batteries, one launch tube with four internal missiles, and six AP batteries. It would have 30 tread units and start at M3. In terms of appearance, the chassis looked a bit like the front segment of a Fencer, but with an extension at rear which housed the missile system. The unit was to be designated “Domovoi”, and would be worth 60 points (10 armour units).
Domovoi (Prototype) 2 Secondary Batteries (3/2, D3): O O 1 Launch Tube (D4): O 4 Internal Missiles (6/5): O O O O 6 Antipersonnel (1/1 against infantry only, D1): O O O O O O 30 Tread Units (Starting M3): O O O O O O O O O O (M2) O O O O O O O O O O (M1) O O O O O O O O O O (M0)
However, given existing PE manufacturing capabilities the cost of the Domovoi were astronomical. For production of military units of this size, Combine autofac technology was far more advanced. A few prototype units were constructed, and may have seen service in England (this information is still classified).
Thus, the capture of Sheffield was more important from a manufacturing perspective than the OGRE templates which are typically cited. The methods and equipment obtained from this kick-started the development of PE cybertanks and allowed the creation of the Fencer (and later, the Dopp).
Also note that for the first several years after Sheffield, it was easier to produce knock-offs of the Combine OGREs. (This was because the equipment and templates were already in place.) These units – plus the partial Mk. V templates – were eventually tweaked to produce the Pikeman, Legionnaire, and Huscarl.