The M312 Heavy Recovery Vehicle, and commonly known as the Elephant, is a heavy UNSC Marine Corps Mobile Assault, Support, and Recovery Platform. It appears as a unit in Halo Wars and as an ally-controlled vehicle in both Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike.
The Elephant is a mobile command base and repair vehicle and is able to pull an entire Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine by itself. It features a crane, numerous firing ports and elevated positions for defending it. It has four tracks set up on each side of the chassis. Its chassis is as high as they are wide, providing stability.
The Elephant also appears in Halo Wars as an armored personnel carrier and mobile infantry barracks, capable of creating troops in the field and/or deploying them while defending itself from enemy attacks. To operate as a barracks, the vehicle must first deploy. This unit can be only used when the player chooses Captain Cutter as their Leader Character in online play or skirmish.
Like other Halo Wars units, this vehicle has been dimensionally altered, particularly as the bay on the rear has been shrunk (two people wide to one person high) and the bogeys are now the same size. Similar to Halo 3's design, the Elephant still retains its crane, though the vehicle looks ill-suited for repair and recovery. However, there are several design changes made in Halo Wars. The Elephant mounts three M41 LAAG weapons, one on the top of the driver's cabin and two at the rear on each side of the troop bay. It will also, if upgraded, sport a roof mounted cannon (similar to UNSC base defense turrets). The troop bay is enclosed and features a rear dropping ramp. The front also has an enclosed ramp along with deployable support struts.
Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike
During the Battle of Draetheus V, several Elephants were used to evacuate wounded Marines.
- Recon Team Lima - Commanded by Sergeant Forge in 2531, took part in the Battle of Shield 0459.
- Recon Team India - Accompanied Lima onto the surface of the Shield 0459, before being captured by the Flood and rescued by Forge and Red Team.
- Recon Team Echo - Accompanied Lima onto the surface of the Shield 0459, before being captured by the Flood and rescued by Forge and Red Team.
Halo Wars Gameplay
An Elephant is a prime tool to use in performing the rush technique commonly used in real-time strategy games. What one must do is build 1-2 reactors and devote the rest of their building slots to supply pads. The next step is to build turrets and an Elephant, it generally helps to research the upgrades for the elephant and lock the base first, so the Elephant is garrisoned inside and will be safe until needed. When the upgrades have been researched, unlock the base and lock the Elephant down next to the base, then train three Spartans and fill the rest of the army with Marines and Hellbringers. This tactic generally assures victory, if all the steps are performed accordingly. When playing as Captain Cutter, deploy the Elephant for an early start and upgrade it as quickly as possible, so it is effective, and you can push back the enemy (this is good against the Brute Chieftain). An alternate and much faster way is to build the reactor needed for the elephant to be built, start the construction of supply pads, deploy the elephant, buy as many marines as possible, and when the first squad is out, direct it to the enemy base, assigning the other squads to go there too when they are deployed. This strategy was mentioned in the Jaws of Victory ViDoc. It could also just be used as a general purpose alternative to the Barracks. It should be noted though that the Elephant cannot research upgrades for infantry like the real Barracks. One could work around this limitation by employing the tactic that is commonly associated with the Field Armory; research all the upgrades, then destroy the building.
- Costs: 400 Resource units and requires two Population Caps and zero energy units
- Capable of training SPARTAN-IIs and other infantry.
- Twin Engine: Increases the Elephant's speed by about 30%.
- Defense Turret: Adds a M247 GPMGT Autocannon that defends the Elephant when it's deployed.
- Ceramic Armor: The Elephant can now take 25% more damage.