(Awesome Mk. III-B blueprint swiped from the Martian Metals blog.)
“I presume that the empires generally stopped building older OGREs once they could increase the load factors enough. (I’m still surprised that the Mk. III-B didn’t replace the Mk. III entirely. There must be something I’m overlooking.)”
To this, Servitor supplied the following reply:
- The Mk. III was cheaper to produce. History is full of examples of armoured vehicles that were rapidly eclipsed by later designs but were still used for decades because they did the basic job and were cheaper – no matter how more efficiently the later design did the task. (Can you say “Sherman”?)
- The Mk. III was extremely difficult to transport over oceans. No aircraft was capable of doing it at the time of the Mk. III’s inception (or so the source material says) and even ocean-going vehicles were taxed. But with the Mk. III being the “standard” OGRE of the time, ingenious methods of transport were eventually developed (packaging, underwater adaptations for self-transporting OGREs, etc.) But while the Mk. III could be transported by tanker, the Mk. III-B (presumably) could not.
This is also why the Mk. I remained in service so long. They were easily transported throughout the world on conventional aircraft. Specially built aircraft could (eventually) transport the Mk. II, but at far more expense (and risk). Hence, the Mk. I remained in service even though the Mk. II was better armed.
- Beyond the cost of materials, the Mk. III template was far more widespread, with far more support than the Mk. III-B. This means the Mk. III was probably cheaper than a formula would suggest. Up to 10% or more for mass-production. The III-B simply wasn’t prevalent enough. Also, “Third-World” sales of Mk Is and IIIs insured that these two classes would see even higher production runs than normal, which could increase the “discount” even more.
I like this explanation. The Mk. III-B is more like a “Little Five” than a Mk. III. The reason it remained relatively rare, even late in the Final War, was because of production costs and transport logistics.
(So why am I posting here again? The release of several OGRE Sponsored Counter Sheets has gotten me back into the game…)