The Combine, like the other nations, upgraded their equipment constantly throughout the war. Templates were redesigned overnight and the heavy tank that rolled off the assembly line today might be far different (on the inside) than the one that rolled off just two days ago. Things change, especially on the 21CB and the OGREs probably the most expensive and most complicated system present, naturally got the most upgrades of any type of unit. It should be noted that the higher the upgrade, the more advanced the OGRE was, generally. A Mark X Zulu was the most powerful mobile weapons system ever created by mankind. Each upgrade, of course, included all upgrades beneath it unless so noted. "The Twenty-Six Steps", as the upgrades were known to the techs and programmers by the last part of the War, were invaluable in keeping the giant war machines on the cutting edge of technology. Each of "The Twenty-Six Steps" is outlined below and is also available on display in the historical archive.
Not all modifications were applied to the newest OGREs as some came from the factory updated with all the latest bells and whistles before they were delivered. In the field, it might be a different story. A commander might have at his disposal three Mark II Deltas and a Mark III Charlie. The opposite was just as true, especially during the final stages of the War, when weapons systems were bordering on 'brilliant', when weapons were reaching an epoch of lethal strength and armor technology was again waning, and when the newer machines were not rolling off the assembly lines as quick as the generals could go through them! After a while, though, the upgrades reached plateaus, where every unit operating at that time was at least upgraded to a certain level, if that upgraded affected the unit in all operational aspects, some higher or with different upgrades, but none with less. Some modifications were to help the OGREs out in certain theaters, and didn't work well in other theaters, where a new upgrade would have to be installed and the old one removed or modified. As such, not all upgrades were used at all times on all OGREs. This will also be listed in greater detail below.
Several times during this website, you'll find me reference a certain class of OGRE, like a OGRE Mark III- Fox, etc. Multiple class refits can be applied and were done so, in limited circumstances. Below is a list of the most common upgrades, classes, variants, and the models that they were applied to. Not all will have relevance on the game, per se, but it is interesting reading material for sure to arm chair historians.
Upgrade Alpha- The Alpha upgrades were the first of the upgrades to the Combine operating systems. Faster processors, bigger data trunks, higher speed fiber optic relays, and a host of subprocessor arrays provided over 12% increase in combat efficiency. Once the Mark I OGREs were field tested to a limited degree, and their inadequacies were noted, the Alpha upgrade did a lot to bring the Mark Is up to a stop gap measure until the more effective Mark IIs were integrated into the equipment tables. All Mark IIs had the Alpha upgrade as part of their initial design, having learned from the field trials of the Mark I what was required of the hardware and software. Each mark after that was based upon the Alpha upgrade and included it as the base operating platform.
Upgrade Fox- The Fox upgrade was a specialized electronic warfare package, a scouting package, and a intelligence / recon acquisition package integrated (almost) seamlessly into one core system and application array. The first Fox units had problems, but these core package interrupts were quickly fixed and the Fox based package became the premiere Combine recon system for CLAWS based scouts. The Fox package was at first built into Mark I units, but as the Last War developed, and technology became more and more compact, many other OGREs were built using this package as a simple enhancement to their existing sensor arrays. The larger OGRES (units beyond Mark VI) were always built with this system incorporated into their design after Year 2075.
Upgrade Hotel- The Heavy Launch upgrade. OGREs operating in a support role, far behind the main lines, were often tasked as artillery and missile carriers. When used in such roles, a OGRE could rapidly move to launch range, fire off a salvo of a variety of TAC missiles each with a variety of warheads, and then move back to cover. Hotel units would also advance just behind a main force, salvoing over the main force to soften up the target(s) or target area(s) before a strike. The use of the Hotel option package varied depending on the current state of the electronic warfare race. All Hotel modified units trade in their main batteries for increased missile armament (only), as required or desired. No other change is made to the units. Normal substitution rules apply, see above for details.
Upgrade Sierra- The Sierra upgrade was limited to a total of seven (7) production packages, of which only six (6) saw actual field use. The Sierra, or 'stealth' package was applied to the Mark II-Sierra Romeo "Dark Horse" (Project Code Name: Faint Whisperer) (only). The largest unit capable of a Sierra upgrade was a Mark II CLAWS chassis. The Paneuropeans never produced anything like the Sierra upgrade, and needless to say, the plans and templates for the Sierra upgrade were *NOT* at Sheffield, ever.
Upgrade Romeo- The Romeo upgrade was the infamous Combine 'raider' upgrade. Most units built or reconditioned to Romeo status did a lot of weapon swapping. Most Romeo units traded in their main batteries for increased missile and anti-personnel systems allowing them to wreck havoc on soft targets behind enemy lines. This lack of a 'main line' punch was not a problem since the Romeo units were relegated to soft raiding on choice rear echelon targets of opportunity, hit and run type strikes, and recon in force type engagements. All Romeo upgrade units had increased movement capacity (start out at MA 4, divide total tread units into four identical groups, degrade MA in battle accordingly). Trade in all main batteries for secondary, tertiary, missile, or AP batteries as desired.