The huge Land Ironclad is no mere weapon of war. It is a potent symbol of human ingenuity and American industrial might! These towering vessels were first built in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia, utilizing the methods and skills employed in ship construction to produce what many have dubbed ‘land battleships.’ The popular press have so far been denied access to complete details of the Land Ironclad’s armament and defensive systems, but such information as has been revealed speaks of a weapon as superior to the existing steam tanks as those mighty machines are superior to a mere infantryman.
Owing to the use of naval facilities and personnel, it became a matter of some controversy whether the new Land Ironclads would fall under the command of the army or navy. As the first machines were built with watertight hulls, the navy considered them to be ships. Sea trials indicated that, though capable of transport by water, lacking a proper keel, the Land Ironclads were unstable in anything but the calmest waters. The first Ironclads were delivered to the US Army and were still officially undergoing land trials when they encountered Tripod raiders in Western Tennessee. On that occasion, a flotilla of three Ironclads was about to steam for home, having completed a test of its primary gunnery systems, when it ran into a force of more than a dozen Tripods. The Tripods swept the vessels with their Heat Rays, causing only superficial damage thanks to the dense asbestos plates that shield the Ironclads’ metal armor. The Ironclads responded by laying steam as a precautionary defense and engaging the tripods with their 12-inch and 7-inch guns. Four Tripods were destroyed or crippled in the first salvo, and the remainder quickly withdrew, leaving the Ironclads very much the victors of this first encounter in this new war of the machines.