Snow Cruiser Centurion
|Top speed||29 knots|
|Weapons||Multi-Chamber Tank Gun x 4|
Army squad x3 (tanks x6)
Snow Cruisers were large amphibious warships (in the literal sense) designed specifically to cross the impassible frozen wasteland of the Crystal Sea. They represented the bleeding edge of Ragnite technology, being equipped with a high-output reactor of classified design, and propelled themselves using a combination of auger drive and two sets of enormous chainsaw-like treads at the front of the vehicle.
They were developed in secret by the Edinburgh Navy, with technological support from the United States of Vinland. Three such vessels, Comet, Centurion and Cavalier, were available at the time of Operation Cygnus, and all three participated in the operation to some degree. They were collectively referred to as the Cygnus Fleet.
A battleship developed in secret by the Edinburgh navy, with help from the USV. Three ships were built, named the Comet, the Cavalier and the Centurion. A giant ram on the front breaks through the ice, and a long hull grants passage over glacial crevasses. The deck can slide back to create a bridge for deploying both infantry and tanks onto the coast or higher ground.
Part tank, part boat, the power source used to provide the massive amounts of energy needed is classified information.
The snow cruisers were large but relatively lightly armed vessels, functioning primarily as transport and support vessels for their compliment of infantry and tanks. To this end their only armament was four "Amp Cannons," special weapons designed to increase the effective range of tanks.
Their support features were comprehensive and clearly anticipated complications with Operation Cygnus: they could provide repair and medical support for their troops as well as radar support, and featured a large service bay for vehicle maintenance. Centurion even carried a series of one-man military balloons to allow her troops to perform airborne insertions if need be.
Each ship had two power plants: the main reactor, and a standard Ragnite combustion backup engine which could provide about one-third as much power.
The vessels were not designed to resist a prolonged direct attack and seemingly were only lightly armored, being vulnerable to parabombs and easily crippled if stripped of their infantry protection. Their large internal spaces also meant that their ability to float on water was easily compromised.
All three Snow Cruisers bore the motto "It will be done" on both sides of the frontal hull.
The actual number of crew on each of the Snow Cruisers is not given, but based on what is seen of Centurion seems to number perhaps several dozen Navy sailors per ship, plus the embarked Army troops. Only members of the Centurion's crew are named during Valkyria Chronicles 4. Four positions on the bridge are known: the Captain (Captain Roland Morgen on the Centurion), Chief Navigator (Lieutenant Junior Grade Brian Haddock) who is also second in command, Communications Officer (Petty Officer Second Class Marie Bennett), and the Radar Operator (Louffe, oddly not a Navy officer at all, instead being a Marine Corps Sergeant).
Outside of the bridge crew the only other known positions are the commander of the ship's embarked troops, who is privy to discussions on the bridge and assumes the rank of Army Captain, the Chief Engineer (Lieutenant André Dunois on the Centurion) and the Ship's Surgeon (Lieutenant Sergio Mousquelaire).
While it was initially described as an advanced but conventional Ragnite compression system of a type developed by Albert Miller and perfected by his daughter Riley, in truth the reactor design for the Snow Cruisers, referred to as a "Ragnite Implosion Turbine," was something else altogether: the Ragnite fuel was exposed to the body of a Valkyria child to energize it, creating a power output that would be impossible with any normal powerplant. Each of the Snow Cruisers had a young Valkyria girl on board, modified with a spinal interface for the reactor. These girls were effectively asleep while connected to the reactor, but seemingly also aware of what was going on around them, seeing it in their dreams.
Only the identity of the Centurion's assigned Valkryia is known: this was Angelica Farnaby, codenamed "A2." On paper she and the other two Valkyria were "civilian contractors," while Angelica saw herself as a volunteer. Comments by several of Centurion's bridge crew, including Captain Morgan himself, implied this was indeed the case, as the reactor could not function if the Valkyria did not enter it willingly.
The nature of the reactor was considered of utmost secrecy, with only the senior crew being privy to it: even Centurion's chief engineer, Andre Dunois, was not allowed to enter the "forbidden area" surrounding the reactor assembly. When Riley Miller asked about the consequences of entering the forbidden area, Andre made it clear that it would be the kind of court martial that ended with a firing squad.
In her Squad Story, it is revealed that Azusa Tsukikage was a spy sent by her Far-Eastern home country to discover the secrets of the new reactor design. She has a crisis of conscience and after a mission with Norid Saarinen and Scott Aldiss, elects not to report the information back to her clan.
The three Snow Cruisers had been in development long before Operation Northern Cross began, but were only ready for deployment after it had already failed. Due to this, the withdrawal of what was supposed to be the main Federation force became little more than a feint, with Operation Cygnus, itself originally supposed to be only a decoy attack, becoming the Federation's primary hope of defeating the Empire.
As they withdrew from their destroyed camp at Lindbergh Base, the remaining units of the Edinburgh Army's Armored Ranger Corps were ordered to cross the Achtzehn Mountains, not knowing they were to meet up with the three Snow Cruisers. By the time the vessels arrived, Squad F had been annihilated save for Minerva Victor and its tank Glory, and Klaus Walz and his Ausbruch tank battalion had cornered the survivors and Squad E. Gunfire from the vessels quickly drove off or destroyed the Imperial forces, and the remaining Ranger squads boarded the three Snow Cruisers. Claude Wallace took on the role of commander of the Centurion's assault unit after Minerva declined the position.
Captain Roland Morgen of the Centurion explained the mission of the Cygnus Fleet to Claude in very broad terms: the explanation he gave was that it was a last-ditch attempt to end the war following the failure of Northern Cross, and that the three Snow Cruisers were to storm the Imperial capital, Schwartzgrad, the surprise attack on the heart of their country being sufficient to force the Empire to the negotiating table.
The Cygnus Fleet proceeded on together as stories of "ghost ships" in the Crystal Sea began to spread, Centurion soon picking up a civilian who had been driven from his home out onto the ice by Imperial troops, saying that there were others who needed help too. At the same time, there was friction between the Navy crew of Centurion and the Army troops of Squad E, resulting in Claude organizing a mock battle in an abandoned village to try to establish a sense of camaraderie between them. This battle was rudely interrupted by Imperial troops, with Squad E covering the.evacuation of the remaining civilians before retreating.
At some point either just before or soon after this, Imperial forces lured Squad E away from the Centurion and managed to insert a small unit of crack troops into the vessel's engine room, but this was quickly repelled by a team consisting of Lieutenants Haddock, Dunois and Mousquelaire.
One of the refugees was in fact a plant by the Imperial strategist Forseti, and handed off a transponder to Kai Schulen of Squad E, allowing Forseti to communicate with her and track the Centurion's position. This ability to anticipate the Cygnus Fleet's course allowed a force including Walz, Crymaria Levin, Chiara Rocino and Nikola Graf to lay a trap for the Comet, the vessel ending up caught with her stern in a pit trap and unable to move. This was part of a plan by Heinrich Belgar, head of the shadowy Imperial Science Board, to capture the ships intact in order to study their reactors. Forseti, meanwhile, had his own reasons for desiring their capture.
Cavalier continued on her course while Centurion moved to assist Comet, and as Squad E broke through the Imperial forces, Comet even succeeded in restoring power and recovering herself from the pit. However, Squad E could do nothing but watch as Crymaria lost control of her emotions and unleashed a devastating volley of powerful beams against the Snow Cruiser, quickly damaging her to the point she lost power again. Despite desperate pleas from Forseti, the "defective" Valkyria continued to fire, and Comet exploded under the bombardment, presumably with the loss of all hands.
Crymaria then turned her sights to the Centurion, striking the Snow Cruiser with such force she disabled the main reactor and weakened the ice surrounding the vessel: the damage to Centurion's hull was sufficient that there was a very real risk of sinking, and it appeared to both Squad E and the Imperial forces that the ice collapsed and Centurion sank to the bottom of the Crystal Sea.
In fact, Centurion had used the opportunity to move into a nearby ice crevasse with the little power she had remaining. Squad E soon received a transmission from the damaged vessel and made their way down into the crevasse. While Squad E struggled to keep warm, Riley Miller and Andre Dunois worked to re-start the Centurion's backup engine. However, Forseti realised the ship was intact since the transponder was still functioning, and deployed paratroops into the crevasse in an attempt to storm the vessel before it could become operational again.
Squad E deployed to defend the Centurion from the Imperial forces, who were by this point dropping parachute bombs on the Centurion, with Squad E's snipers engaging these bombs. The first Imperial wave was soundly defeated, and the Centurion came back online just in time to avoid the second, escaping the crevasse and making her way back out onto the Crystal Sea.
After the Centurion's escape, a young girl was found near the reactor housing: suffering amnesia, she had no idea how she got there, remembering little more than her own name, Angelica Farnaby. Squad E assumed that she must have been one of the villagers, despite Raz's insistence that he counted the refugees and accounted for all of them.
Captain Morgen of the Centurion reasoned that there must be a spy on board his vessel or that the Federation naval ciphers had been broken: thus, the Centurion following her original planned course while moving at one-third normal speed on her backup engine would likely only lead to further ambushes. Instead, he opted for a much longer route, swinging through the Garsbruck Strait to the North to meet back up with the Cavalier and resume course for Schwartzgrad. In the meantime, both ships would maintain radio silence. This was a risky plan, as it required the Centurion to challenge the might of Fort Garsbruck, an old Edinburgh-built coastal fortress now operated by the Empire after their annexation of the Nord Republic. Dashing past the fortress was not an option due to Centurion's reduced speed.
Claude hit on an unorthodox plan to assault Fort Garsbruck, using the cover of dense fog to deploy troops within it via balloon, aiming to sabotage the two Ragnite-powered coastal defense guns that formed the primary armament of the fortress, while the Centurion charged Fort Garsbruck head-on. Despite Miles Arbeck's protests that the plan was suicidal, it succeeded: Fort Garsbruck's offensive capabilities were removed, and Squad E exfiltrated back to the Centurion.
Having passed the fortress, the Centurion still faced the problem that her extended sortie was pushing the limits of her supplies, requiring a raid on a concealed Imperial supply warehouse in Port Kosvall to rectify this. Meanwhile, the young Angelica, still not able to remember who she was, did her best to assist the crew, showing natural skills in a surprising number of fields, quickly establishing a close rapport with Riley Miller and the Centurion's surgeon Sergio Mousquelaire.
The raid on Port Kosvall largely went off without a hitch in military terms, though Angelica managed to sneak about one of the trucks and met Crymaria, who gave her some assistance in recovering her memories, cautioning her that she might not like what she discovered. Equally, Squad E discovered Kai Schulen talking with Forseti, who insisted the destruction of Comet and the near-destruction of Centurion was not his plan: Kai threw down the transponder, saying she would no longer work for him, and Squad E returned to their ship.
Following a mission by Squad E to assist the Resistance who had helped to secure the supplies by saving a General being held for interrogation in the town of Loweholm, the Centurion received word that the Cavalier was under attack. Captain Morgen moved to assist despite knowing it was a trap, with Squad E once again facing off against Walz and Crymaria, this time in the abandoned ruin of an ancient Valkyrur temple. As part of this ambush, Centurion's bridge was targeted, critically wounding Captain Morgen.
Despite Squad E succeeding in defeating the Imperial forces, the captain of the Cavalier had already determined his vessel a lost cause, warning Centurion and her troops to clear the area as he set his ship's reactor to self-destruct. Centurion began to move away, Claude demanding to know what exactly the Cavalier was doing that required such a distance, and it became clear that at reduced power she would not be able to escape whatever was about to happen.
However, by this point Angelica had remembered who she was, and despite Riley's attempts to stop her, returned to her place in the Centurion's reactor, saying she wanted to help her friends. The reactor immediately restarted, and Centurion picked up speed just in time as the Cavalier suddenly erupted in an explosion of incredible magnitude.
After the self-destruction of the crippled Cavalier it was revealed that the true mission of the Cygnus Fleet was not to capture Schwartzgrad, but to destroy it. Each vessel's reactor could also function as an enormously powerful Valkyria Bomb by inducing the Valkyria child's "final flame" and boosting it with further Ragnite fission reactions, with only one such detonation needed to destroy an entire city. It was reasoned that the loss of leadership in the highly centralized Empire would shatter the chain of command and leave frontline Imperial forces in disarray, all but guaranteeing a Federation victory.
The Centurion proceeded on with her mission, but was soon confronted once again by Walz and his forces, in an attempt to catch the Snow Cruiser in a pincer movement between Ausbruch and Crymaria. Operating outside of Belgar's command, Walz intended to destroy the Centurion: having witnessed the detonation of the Cavalier, he felt that such a weapon should not be allowed to exist. After their defeat, Captain Morgen of the Centurion regained consciousness and entrusted Claude with command of his ship and the whole operation, explaining the final details of the plan: the vessel was to take up position in Schwartzgrad, with a one-hour time window prior to detonating the A2 Bomb to allow the crew time to evacuate. To this effect, he handed over the A2 bomb's arming keys. Claude grudgingly accepted that while millions of Imperial citizens would die in the destruction of Schwartzgrad, millions of Federation soldiers had already died during Northern Cross and the detonation of the A2 bomb could spare millions more the same fate.
Proceeding towards the Imperial capital, Centurion was ambushed once again while crossing an island covered in frozen trees, with Forseti deploying an electrified net suspended from barrage balloons to stop the Snow Cruiser's advance while other Imperial troops surrounded her. Presented with a one-hour ultimatum to surrender, Claude was forced to attempt a plan which required sending two members of Squad E on a suicide mission to disable the generator and shut down the net: the Centurion would have to start moving immediately to escape, so the two soldiers would be left behind. The mission succeeded, and Centurion continued on her path towards Schwartzgrad. As it became clear that nothing could now stop the Centurion, the citizens of the Imperial capital made frantic efforts to evacuate as Forseti organized the defense forces.
A formidable force of tanks and infantry was massed to defend Schwartzgrad's outer wall, but the Centurion broke straight through, charging headlong through streets and buildings alike and ultimately coming to rest near a scenic circular plaza, with the gigantic palace of the Emperor close by.
Claude's plan required that Squad E deploy to seize control of the plaza in order to secure an escape route for the Centurion's crew. Forseti threw everything he had at the Snow Cruiser, including a now thoroughly deranged Chiara and the Imperial capital's force of advanced prototype vehicles referred to as Ultimate Tanks, but even this was not enough.
However, this was only part of Forseti's plan: while Claude was busy securing the plaza, an Imperial strike team including Forseti himself and the equally mentally broken Nikola infiltrated the Centurion, with Forseti setting his sights on the engine room as Andre and the other engineers did their best to stop him. It was finally stated clearly that his plan was to rescue the Valkyria girl Angelica from the vessel's reactor, regardless of her own thoughts on the subject. Claude and Squad E moved quickly to prevent Forseti from opening the reactor with Kai ultimately forced to shoot her brother. As he lay dying, he explained that he had tried to protect the Valkyria test subjects many years before and his plans had only ever been aimed at rescuing the three girls on the Snow Cruisers, particularly Angelica who had once showed him kindness.
With Forseti dead and the attack repelled, Claude ordered the crew to evacuate, he and Riley staying behind to manually trigger the A2 bomb. However, as he was steeling himself to pull the firing lever, sirens began to sound across Schwartzgrad, and soon a radio message came in from Federation command ordering all troops to stand down, as an armistice treaty had been negotiated between the Federation and the Empire.
Claude struggled with the idea of simply stopping after everything Squad E and the Centurion's crew had been though, but ultimately decided not to trigger the bomb. Immediately afterwards he was forced to talk down Minerva Victor from doing so, the proud Squad F Lieutenant finally agreeing that she joined the military to end the war, not to kill Imperial citizens, and that through accepting the armistice she was still honoring the memories of those who had fallen.
Belgar's final plan
Centurion's war seemed over, with the crew returning to her and Claude striking up a conversation with none other than Walz and Crymaria. However, suddenly a series of harpoons erupted from beneath the ice near where Centurion had broken through the city wall, impaling the stern of the unoccupied Snow Cruiser and starting to pull her back towards the water.
As the Centurion was dragged backwards, the way Belgar had deployed strike forces out on the Crystal Sea at will time and again was finally revealed as his gigantic trimaran submarine Orcinus Magnus broke the surface, larger than even the Centurion herself.
Walz quickly offered Claude his battle-damaged but still functional tank Vulcan Procus to pursue the Centurion so Riley could activate the engines and pull against the Orcinus Magnus. With this accomplished, Squad E moved to destroy the harpoon cannon emplacements on the giant submarine's deck. However, Claude quickly realised his error: Belgar had no intention of taking the Centurion anywhere, and instead had used his submersible tank Lophius to insert himself and a strike team on board the Centurion.
Belgar quickly set up a device to force the A2 bomb to activate and intercepted Squad E in the Lophius, trying to prevent them from accessing the Centurion before the bomb triggered: the supertank was designed in such a way that it would survive, allowing Belgar to observe the detonation up close. He seemed altogether unconcerned with the vessel's proximity to Schwartzgrad, instead seized by a near-religious fervor and constantly talking to Riley's dead father, his former partner in Ragnite research.
After a final face-off against the Lophius that ended in Belgar's defeat, Riley managed to board the Centurion, by this point already severely damaged by the energy build-up with fires raging throughout her engine room. Riley was badly wounded after encountering a thoroughly insane Nikola: in spite of this, she reached the engine room. Riley succeeded in freeing Angelica from the reactor and thus preventing the detonation of the A2 bomb, but her wound was too much for her to escape, and she resigned herself to dying to stop the monster she had helped to create.
However, Claude managed to make his way onto the doomed Snow Cruiser, carrying Riley and Angelica out and escaping in the Hafen. Though he seemed trapped out on the deck of the Centurion as she began to sink, miraculously a section of deck collapsed to create a ramp, allowing the tank to make it back to Squad E.
There was no saving the Centurion; all Squad E and the Centurion's crew could do for her was salute their old friend as she slipped beneath the icy waters, with Claude calling her "[their] most stalwart friend, and the finest soldier of all." It is at this point Valkyria Chronicles 4's credits starts rolling, playing The Minstrel Boy as a funeral hymn for the Centurion and all of its fellow soldiers that had died in the line of duty.
All three Snow Cruisers were lost in action during the course of Operation Cygnus: Comet suffered critical damage and exploded after Crymaria Levin lost control of her emotions and subjected the Snow Cruiser to a prolonged bombardment, in an attack which also disabled the Centurion's reactor. Since the Comet's reactor had already shut down, her Valkyria Bomb did not detonate: the destruction of the ship was most likely caused by her magazine exploding.
The damaged Centurion was forced to follow a different route to her sister Cavalier, and the latter was caught in a similar ambush by elite Imperial forces, losing her infantry forces and being left unable to move. Desperate, the Captain elected to detonate his Valkyria Bomb out on the ice rather than risk the Cavalier falling into Imperial hands.
Centurion reached Schwartzgrad, but Claude Wallace elected not to detonate the A2 Bomb after a cease-fire agreement between the Empire and Federation. The vessel was then hijacked by forces loyal to Belgar with the goal of detonating the A2 Bomb: Squad E succeeded in thwarting Belgar's ambitions, but could not recover the Centurion, which sank into the sea just outside of Schwartzgrad.
All details of the Snow Cruisers and the true nature of Operation Cygnus were classified following the operation's conclusion. Officially, the operation involved "a ship that could travel over land," but no further details were given.
The Centurion is assigned to the player starting in the first part of Chapter 8: The Crystal Sea. While it is never a directly controllable unit, it has a number of functions: firstly, it serves as a replacement for the destroyed Lindbergh Base and all Headquarters functions are carried out on board. This is purely cosmetic: the Headquarters functions all work as they did before.
The second function is a more major gameplay change: it allows the development of Ship Upgrades in the R&D lab, and the use of Ship Orders during missions. Ship Orders provide support functions to the squad: they require one Command Point per use, are limited to one use per turn, and a limited number are available per battle, 2 by default and up to a maximum of 5. Some can only be activated within a set radius of Claude Wallace (if he is on foot) or the Hafen (if he is a tank commander). There are four Ship Orders:
- Radar automatically reveals all enemy units within its radius of effect, even those in hiding. It is also unaffected by sight range penalties for night or blizzards. Upgrades increase the radius of the revealed area and the distance from Claude that it can be used at.
- Bombardment calls in a volley of shots from the Centurion's Amp Cannons. The damage is fairly minor for game balance purposes (starting out roughly equivalent to the "Mortar Strike" Order from the first game), and it is primarily useful for softening up infantry. Upgrades increase the radius of the area attacked, the damage dealt, and the distance from Claude that the attack can be deployed at. Bombardment does not seem to affect enemies who have not been spotted. It also does not appear to allow the enemies targeted a chance to evade.
- Rescue Squad gives a heal to all infantry currently in the field, and automatically rescues all downed soldiers. Upgrades increase the amount healed.
- Emergency Fix allows the player to return any tanks that have been "forced to retreat" (ie destroyed) by combat damage to the field, at either their initial starting location or a special starting location depending on the map. Notably, this is the only Order that can still be used if the Hafen is destroyed. If both tanks were destroyed, both will be returned. Troops who were in an APC that was destroyed will not return. Upgrades increase the HP of the replacement vehicle.
By default only Radar is available: the other Ship Orders require the corresponding Part to be developed in R&D before they can be used. For gameplay purposes, even the Amp Cannons have to be developed before they can be used, despite that the Cynus Fleet fire them during the rescue of Squad E. Ship Orders are also disabled in some missions, usually with the explanation that the Centurion is not present to offer support. They are available in most Skirmish maps. The latter two orders cannot be activated if they would have no effect.
The other two Snow Cruisers never serve any gameplay function other than some mission objectives being based around assisting them.
- They are the second-heaviest heaviest and second-largest machines to have appeared in the series so far, being 2.5 meters longer than the previous record-holder for length Perkunas from the second game and with only the 43,000-ton Dandarius being heavier. The only larger vehicle is Orcinus Magnus.
- The general hull shape is based on WW2-era German U-boats, with the hull's side bulges moved forward (they even retain flooding holes), while the raised rear deck is based on the loading platform of the Schwerer Gustav supergun.
- Their radar is a scaled-up American Mk 4 gunnery radar.
- The description of the Amp Cannons as "multi chamber" implies they are a multi-charge gun, an obscure system the primary example of which is the WW2-era German V-3 cannon. Presumably, the tank in the gun installation fires its own gun as normal, with the muzzle blast being tapped to detonate the additional propelling changes as the projectile passes them. The charge holders are probably the backward-sloping projections mounted on top of the breech end of the Amp Cannon's barrel. While the use of "amp" might be seen as implying the weapons are railguns or mass drivers (and there were WW2-era experiments with such weapons), it is being used as a shorthand for "amplifier," not to refer to electricity.
- While the Glossary describes them as "battleships," this can only really be the layman's sense of the word as interchangeable with "warship." They certainly do not match the criteria for the specific class of ships called battleships: this would require they serve as capital ships, their primary mission to be destroying other surface ships with heavy gunfire. and for them to mount much heavier armor.
- The three Snow Cruisers are each named after a model of British cruiser tank.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 Vehicles
|Federation Vehicles||Cactus | Glory | Federation Tank | Hafen | Snow Cruiser|
|Imperial Vehicles||Assault Tank | Heavy Imperial Tank | Light Imperial Tank | Medium Imperial Tank | Ultimate Tank|
|Boss Vehicles||Lophius | Orcinus Magnus | Vulcan / Vulcan Procus|