The Tesla Coil was a Soviet defensive structure that first saw combat production in Second World War. It used a combination of electricity generation and atmosphere ionization to hurl artificial lightning bolts at hostile attackers.
Its construction was based upon practical blueprints created by Nikola Tesla. Its ability to throw its electricity at specific targets was a feature that was added by USSR military scientists. The device proved so reliable that it would see combat in all three of the following world wars, albeit in the form of new models with substantial upgrades.
The true origins of the Tesla coil lay with the devices namesake, the scientist Nikola Tesla, who created the first working prototype in 1891. Tesla originally intended the device to have practical or recreational applications, seeing it as both a possible energy source (which it did become much later on) and a source of light-hearted amusement, hardly a weapon of war. Tesla had already begun the development of a feasible death ray for that particular niche, but a combination of impracticality and lack of funds prevented it from ever seeing the light of day. As for the original Tesla coil, it never managed to achieve the public recognition Tesla hoped for, and thus it remained largely forgotten in the proceeding years after his death in 1943.
Until, that is, the blueprints found their way into Soviet hands, who also managed to create a sophisticated control system, allowing it to hit targets with pin point accuracy. Following Russian military doctrine, the Tesla coil was made bigger, stronger, and more powerful, until it became clear that the next major breakthrough in weapons technology had just been achieved. It was only a matter of time before the coil, and all the technologies that branched off from it, would see use in the coming war in Europe.
Second World War
The Tesla coil saw widespread use in the Second World War, going so far as to become one of the staples of the Soviet military installation. The standard coil stood about forty feet tall and was surmounted with a bulbous electric diode, typically one brimming with excess electricity. The base of the coil hid a small underground control bunker that contained a single operator, usually a Soviet technician, whose purpose was to direct the coils attacks at enemy targets. This would be done by ionizing the air between the coil's diode and the target, completing the circuit and creating a lightning bolt. This bolt was devastating against infantry, usually killing them instantly, and proved almost as effective on most vehicles.
Tesla coils were typically installed near reinforced walls and defenses, though it was not unheard of for them to be grouped together to form a solid defense on their own merits. It was still much more tactically accepted to place them near walls though, as the coils were considerably fragile and could be destroyed quite quickly by a well ordered tank force. The device soon became the most feared sight of any Allied attack party, as it usually signified that some would most definitely lose their lives in the assault; it was simply a matter of who was reduced to ashes first.
The Tesla coil was established on nearly every major Soviet base during the war, and proved a superb anti-ground weapon. Despite what the Red Army preferred to believe however, the device was not impregnable; it had no ability to strike airborne targets due to the fact they were non-grounded and therefore immune to lightning strikes, and it only had the ability to attack one target at a time due to its power needs. In fact, power itself was a major weakness of the Tesla coil; if power were cut off from the base it was defending, the unit would go dead and become useless. This tactic was commonly used by the Allies to circumvent the towers' deadly force.
Nevertheless, the Tesla coil and its "children", the Tesla tank and the Shock trooper, were easily among of the pinnacle technologies of the Second World War, and would see duty in the coming conflicts with added modifications.
Principle of function
According to Tesla production of the telaforce is dependent upon four inventions of the following nature:
- A method and apparatus for producing rays and other manifestations of energy in free air, eliminating the high vacuum necessary at present for the production of such rays and beams. This is accomplished with a novel form of high vacuum tube, one end of which is open to the atmosphere. The projectiles are accelerated in a vacuum and then conducted into the atmosphere through a valvular conduit.
- A method and process for producing very great electrical force in the range of 60,000,000 volts to propel the particles to their objective. Tesla specified that this could be done with a large electrostatic generator on a new principle and of very great power, in many respects similar to a Van de Graaff generator. In place of a charge-carrying belt it employs a circulating stream of desiccated air that is propelled through a hermetically sealed ductwork by a Tesla disc blower. A Wardenclyffe type apparatus could also be used for this purpose.
- A method for amplifying this process in the second invention. The exterior of the high potential terminal is equipped with numerous bulbs of some insulating material each containing, "an electrode of thin metal sheet suitably rounded” and “exhausted to the highest vacuum obtainable."
- A new method for producing a tremendous electrical repelling force. It appears this would be applied to the projector or gun element of the system in the form of “provisions for imparting to a minute particle an extremely high charge.” While the specific details about this aspect of the design are not readily apparent, it seems that strict attention to the fulfillment of requirements 1, 2 and 3 is critical to success. In Tesla's words, "by the application of my discoveries it is possible to increase the force of repulsion more than a million times and what was heretofore impossible is rendered easy of accomplishment."
The tube would project a single row of highly charged particles and there would be no dispersion, even at great distance. Because the cross section of the charge carriers could be reduced to almost microscopic dimensions and since the charged particles would self-focus via gas focusing, an immense concentration of energy, practically irrespective of distance, could be attained. In 1940 Tesla estimated that each station would cost no more than $2,000,000 and could have been constructed in a few months.
Tesla Coils are the advanced base defense for the Soviets. Their lightning bolts deal horrifying consistent damage against all surface targets while being pinpoint accurate. They can outrange most weapons except those from the Cruiser and Missile Submarine. They seem to attack infantry and light targets much faster than armored vehicles and tanks, in which case they take a while to charge up. Just a few of these towers can instill fear on their foes as they make quick work of almost anything on the ground (and to some extent, sea).
Their power is counterbalanced by their high cost, lack of attack speed and the need for the base to have sufficient available power from the power grid to keep it online which a significant amount is needed to power each tesla coil. Commanders would usually destroy enough power plants to bring them offline and rendering them completely useless. Also they are completely defenseless against aircraft. Since Tesla coils are only able to damage one unit at a time, the commander makes it very easy to overwhelm them with large groups of Light tanks or Medium tanks.
The Tesla coil can be easily swarmed by large groups of Rifle Infantry units as the Tesla coil only attacks one target at a time and has slow attack speed.
The Tesla Coil was upgraded to be powered by the Tesla Troopers.
The Tesla Coil is often used into the mid-late game of a match to deter tank attacks. Tesla Coils are effective at controlling ore/gem fields and choke points where it is hard for tanks to reach the Tesla Coil. They are often considered a waste of time on low money maps as they don't improve your tank production or economy and is part of the reason they got a health upgrade in Aftermath.
In fan made maps such as P4 (infinite money maps) or high Gem maps they truly shine when a player can produce them at rapid speeds through a technique called CY'ing. In conjunction with other buildings and the endless amount of income; one can start to base crawl toward the enemy and use Tesla Coils to directly attack their opponent's base.
Here! is a video using Tesla Coil's and Cy'ing on RA-Showdown
- Devastating against all ground units
- Long Range, can outrange most units save naval artillery
- Able to fire over structures.
- Fires quickly against infantry
- Even a single tesla coil can present itself as a huge threat.
- High power consumption.
- Weak against masses of infantry.
- Defenseless against air units.
- Weak against large groups of light or medium tanks.
- Shuts down with insufficient power, leaving the base defenseless.
- Expensive (costs $1500).
- Cruisers, destroyera and missile submarines can destroy the Tesla coil without taking any damage from it if they are in range.
- Can only target one unit at a time.
- Low rate of fire.