In fiction, a landship is a very large vessel or vehicle designed for travel over land. They can be of various sizes, shapes, made of different materials and have different methods of propulsion. Landships are differentiated from normal ground vehicles by their larger sizes and complexity.
Most depictions have landships travelling over fairly flat and stable surfaces such as roads, trails and plain fields, often able to easily ford normal streams and rivers. They tend to be depicted as slow and lumbering, due to an insinuated relatively poor power-to-weight ratio. Nevertheless, they remain a popular idea due to the visual impressiveness of their great size.
Landships are mostly used for exploration, trade, transport or war. They may or may not be armed, but armed ones tend to look like actual warships of old, with multiple weapon systems and gun turrets.
The type of solid physical contact maintained with the ground usually comes in the form of large continuous track or wheel arrays. More imaginative ideas in fiction include anti-gravity systems and screw propulsion.
Land mobile aircraft carrier
A land mobile aircraft carrier is a fictional terrestrial vehicle built to launch aircraft while mobile. It is not a launching sled for zero-length takeoff systems. The concept of a mobile airbase on land has been explored theoretically by many people[who?], and deemed impractical, however this concept appears in some adventure fiction and Japanese manga and anime.
- In Gundam, there are land mobile aircraft carriers and land mobile suit carriers.
- In Area 88, there is a converted Soviet aircraft carrier placed atop converted Crawler-Transporter drive systems crawling the desert. This carrier also appears as a boss in the video game adaptation U.N. Squadron.
- In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Double Eagle by Dan Abnett, the forces of Chaos use land mobile aircraft carriers to launch fighter strikes against retreating Imperial forces.
- In the Post-apocalyptic Amtrak Wars universe, giant cross country Road trains act as mobile forts, their long flat tops acting as runways for microlight type attack aircraft.
- In Armored Core: For Answer, the Arms Fort "Spirit of Motherwill" is a gigantic, 6-legged multidecked carrier capable of launching Armored Core mecha from its multitude of runways, as well as conventional aircraft. It is also heavily armed with two three gun turrets mounting highly accurate 25 feet caliber guns, several cruise-missile launchers on the edges of the flight decks as well as what appears to be Bofors 40mm AA cannons mounted in dozens of twin gun turrets along the edges of each flight deck. It also carries hilariously thick armor, but contains structural flaws that eventually results in its destruction at the hands of the player.
- Arms Fort "Great Wall", a moving fortress with the appearance of an outrageously oversized armored train, has a large open deck on its rearmost "car"
- Arms Fort "Cabracan", holds several unmanned areial vehicles in its superstructure, it holds little in common with the SoMW, but it is more than able to fill the role of a "landcarrier".
- And in the videogame Haze, Mantel Industries use a land carrier as their base of operations in the field.
- In the videogame Supreme Commander, the UEF experimental tank Fatboy can repair and refuel aircraft, but can not build them. It can, however, keep one aircraft parked on each of its two pads.
Although not formally land mobile aircraft carriers, films and television series have also depicted helicopter and VTOL aircraft launches from semi-trailers and railroad cars.Concept art for the video game Command and conquer: Renegade featured an ORCA VTOL combat aircraft taking off from a converted 18-Wheeler, based on the scrapped concept from the original Command and Conquer.
Due to their large sizes, landships are considered to be impractical in real life (except for tanks and other armored fighting vehicles). However, they are featured in works of fiction, as land-based counterparts of water ships and airships.
Books, comics and manga
- H. G. Wells' The Land Ironclads (1904) predated and inspired the development of the tank (see Landships Committee).
- Edgar Rice Burroughs' Escape on Venus (1946) features warring fleets of landships called "neolantars". The largest vessels are described as between seven hundred and eight hundred feet long, with a beam of over a hundred feet, and a height of at least thirty feet above the ground, with lighter superstructures rising another thirty feet or more.
- Robert A. Heinlein described "land cruisers," large cannon-armed vehicles in "If This Goes On—".
- Michael Moorcock's The Revenge of the Rose features the cities of the Gypsy Nation travelling around the equator of a world powered by slave muscle. His novel The Land Leviathan also features a massive land vehicle.
- Phillip Reeve's Mortal Engines Quartet features Traction Cities, mobile human settlements carrying up to entire city populations.
- Fyodor Berezin's "Battle Mountain"-class aka "sow" air-cushioned artillery battleship carrying squads of tanks (nicknamed as pigs), mentioned in The Huge Black Ship trilogy
- Keith Laumer's Bolo series features powerful tanks, the larger models of which are able to assault or defend planets.
- In Frank Herbert's Dune universe "Harvesters" up to 120 m long harvest the spice on the planet Arrakis.
- Gundam features "land battleships" in nearly every series to date, typically bearing battleship-style artillery battery arrangements. While varying in size according to series (and sometimes even within a series), they tend to be treated as mobile headquarters by various factions.
- Wind on Fire features a desert patrolled by two wind-driven rolling cities, Ombaraka and Omchaka. They are entirely self-sufficient, even carrying onboard farms, and use small unmanned blade-armed landships as weapons against each other.
- Lieutenant Nathaniel Flint is a steampunk Landship Lieutenant whose specialized landship allows him to go about being an armored escort. Flint as well as the Landship Scorpios are featured in a short-story series written by Nathan Powell. Nate has also written a fictional class system that goes into detail about fictional Landships. The Scorpios features two giant drills that makes it a submarine-esque landship, as well as a noticeably large cannon specializing in anti-aircraft combat. see www.facebook.com/landship
- The city in Road of Skulls (The State of the Art) by Iain M Banks is in constant motion.
Television and film
- Secret of Cerulean Sand and Now and Then, Here and There are examples of anime that feature landships.
- Thunderbirds had two episodes featuring road-building landships called Roadlayers. The Crablogger and Sidewinder could also be considered walking landships.
- The Ark II featured in a short run 1976 TV series was a cross-country vehicle manned by young survivors of an ecological disaster carrying a storehouse of knowledge.
- The Landmasters in the 1977 film Damnation Alley, based on Roger Zelazny's 1969 novel, were two large USAF cross-country all-terrain vehicles used by a group of survivors of a nuclear war.
- Star Wars' Sandcrawlers traverse the dunes of desert planet Tatooine.
- The Citadel in the 2001 movie Avalon.
- John Carter of Mars (Barsoom) features city-sized land-ships with metachronal rhythm-centipedal locomotion
- The Japanese manga series Gundam feature several land-ships, like in Gundam Seed and her spin-offs. Here, large ships use a form of repulsor to literally 'sail' the Sahara Desert .
Computer and video games
- Heavy Gear has large factions who maintain entire navies of landships, ranging from the size of a tugboat to twice the volume of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier.
- Supreme Commander features the UEF faction's "Fatboy" mobile factory, a prime example of a landship.
- Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Tournament 3 have the Leviathan, a pilotable wheeled landship.
- Super Mario Bros. 3 had large landships, hybrids of pirate ships with caterpillar tracks.
- Metal Slug 2's fourth level boss is a tracked landship based on the Yamato.
- Command & Conquer features large vehicles prominently throughout, such as the Tiberium series' GDI "Mammoth" tanks. The series' record appears to stand with Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath and its Mammoth Armed Reclamation Vehicle, which has enough space for a turret with triple sonic cannons, four auxiliary turrets and an internal tiberium refinery.
- Valkyria Chronicles features a "land dreadnought" of gargantuan size called the Marmota.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker features a huge land battleship called the Cocoon controlled by AI.
- Killzone 3 features a level that takes place on a mobile factory landship tasked with recycling metal in a massive junkyard..
- Team Fortress 2 features vehicles known as "Carrier Tanks", visible during the Mann vs. Machine game mode. They do not attack the players directly, but deploy robots to attack players.
- Halo 4 features a 70 m long six-wheeled vehicle called a "Mammoth" (formally the Mobile Anti-Aircraft Weapons Platform M510 Siegework/Ultra-Heavy), which acts partially as a troop and vehicle carrier, but also sports a Gauss gun turret that is used to destroy multiple enemy warships and is stated to have the capacity to engage suborbital targets.
- Battle Isle (series) features heavily armed and armoured "Mobile Fortress" and "Mobile Bunker" units, the latter of which being available to transport other units.