- "Saunders may not be the strongest, but they are the wealthiest though. No other school in the nation has as many tanks as they do."
- ―Yukari Akiyama
Saunders is a school located in Nagasaki, Japan and was originaly part of a large group of private schools from kindergarten to university. The school was originally a land school ran by Americans, for Americans back in the old days and had a long history.
The American population was later moved elsewhere and the school became fully Japanese once they built their first schoolship. Saunders still does exchange programs every year with actual American schools.
Out of all the Sensha-dō schools, Saunders has the most resources and a huge supply of tanks. During Yukari Akiyama's infiltration of the school they are revealed to have a rather laid back attitude and a lenient curriculum.
Their school uniform consists of a white shirt and black tie with a grey blazer and a red skirt.
The Sensha-dō uniform is essentially a brown tanker jacket (based after the US WW2 model) and shorts. Many crew members have been seen wearing a tanker helmet, also modeled after the US WW2 era style.
Saunders Girls High School is the first opponent of Ooarai Girls High School during the national Sensha-dō tournament. With unimpressive tanking skills, they are said to rely on the use of overwhelming numbers to defeat their enemies.
For the match, as discovered by Yukari, they decided to field eight 75 mm M4s, one 76 mm M4A1 (serving as the flag tank) and one Sherman Firefly. Not withstanding their advantage in numbers and material, Alisa, the one of Saunders' vice commander, uses a radio intercepting balloon to tap into Ooarai's communications whilst hiding away from the action in forest, but Miho Nishizumi notices this and instructs her radio operator, Saori Takebe, to use text messaging instead of their radio as a countermeasure, using their radios as counterintelligence. Ooarai managed to lure two of Saunders' tank to an ambush and disable one of them, while also finding the location of the flag tank. As Alisa informs Kay of her situation and her trick, Kay decided, to made up for the trickery, to pursue the opponent with just as many tanks as they have, instead of bringing her full force to bear. Ooarai won the match by disabling Saunders' flag tank after a heated chase.
After the match, Miho asks Kay why she deviated from her usual strategy. Kay responds that she wanted to make the match more fair since Ooarai was outnumbered.
In the movie Der Film
Saunders Girls High School appeared on the night before the Ooarai carrier's closure. Landing their C-5M Super Galaxy plane on the carrier, they took possession of Ooarai's Sensha-dō tanks under clandestine arrangement between Kay and the Ooarai Student Council. Saunders later delivered the tanks to the temporary transfer residence.
Upon discovering that the fate of Ooarai would rest on an annihilation match against Selection University and that Ooarai stood to fight at an 8-vs-30 numerical disadvantage, Darjeeling sent out an encoded message rallying reinforcements from various schools to aid Ooarai in their time of need. Saunders responded by sending three tanks: Kay commanded an M4, Alisa commanded an M4A1 76mm and Naomi commanded a Sherman Firefly. These tanks were initially part of Team Morning Glory.
Saunders tanks later joined the eastern utility gate team and was subsequently amonge the tanks surrounded in the amphitheater. When Rabbit Team sent the ferris wheel rolling into the amphitheater, it was Naomi who placed the critical shot that sent the giant attraction hurtling through enemy lines, creating an opening in the encirclement.
The Firefly tank once again proved instrumental in Darjeeling's plan to defeat the T28 Super Heavy Tank. The 17-pounder gun was used to blow open a hole in the bridge as the T28 was crossing it, providing a gap for the Churchill VII to fire a shot into the T28's underbelly.
In the final stages of the battle, the Saunders tanks attempted to intercept the just-regrouped Bermuda Trio. However, the high-speed distraction and confusion tactics of the Megumi, Azumi and Rumi led to the immobilization of all three Saunders tanks without inflicting any returning casualties.
Flying Tankers Volunteer Force
Led by Alisa and Helmet-chan, the Flying Tankers Volunteer Force is the Tankathalon branch of Saunders Girls High School's Sensha-dō team. This unit fields three M22 Locust Tanks, and first saw combat against Shizuka Tsuruki and Rin Matsukaze.
MembersSaunders University High School has three main characters of note.
- Main article: Kay
The overall commander of Saunders University High School Sensha-dō team. She is an energetic and charismatic leader. Her hometown is Sasebo, Nagasaki.
- Main article: Alisa
The vice commander of Saunders University High School Sensha-dou team and the overall commander of the Tankathlon team. She is a skilled radio operator who can become arrogant and underhanded during her matches. Her hometown is Sasebo, Nagasaki.
- Main article: Naomi
The gunner of the team's Sherman Firefly tank, often seen chewing gum. Able to attack enemies with deadly precision, from any range and even on the move. Her hometown is Sasebo, Nagasaki.
Main article: Megumi
She was a member of this school before she integrated into University.
Main article: Helmet-Chan
The loader for Alisa's M4A1(76) Sherman tank and vice commander of the Tankathlon team. Given her fan-name because she is one of the many Saunders crewmen wearing a helmet. Hence: ヘルメットちゃん (Helmet-Chan). Her actions during the battle against Ooarai give an idea of what the tank crew thinks of Alisa, with constant sighing and a worried expression when they were chased by Ooarai's tanks. She also has many cameos and supporting roles in MLLSD and Ribbon Warrior.
Also known as Met-chan (メットちゃん) or simply: Loader (装填手)
- M4 Sherman
- M4A1(76) Sherman
- M4A2 Sherman (Gekkan Senshado Magazine)
- Sherman VC Firefly
- M4A6 Sherman (mentioned, not employed on-screen)
- The school's songs are the US "Battle Hymn of The Republic" and the "U.S. Field Artillery March /U.S Army March".
- The school ship is based on and named after the USS George Washington, an American aircraft carrier currently in service.
- The Squad Sgt. and Protagonist for the 60's T.V. Program "Combat!" was named "Chip" Saunders. He moved when on Patrol like a "laid back" James Dean.
- When caught by Saunders and questioned, Yukari claims to be "Sgt. Oddball" from the "6th Armored Division." That was the Character played by Donald Sutherland in "Kelly's Heroes", the movie Rabbit Team watches the night before the finals.Kelly's heroes also featured the 'Battle hymn of the republic' as part of the movie's soundtrack
- Saunders has enough Sensha-dō participants and tanks to constitute three seperate teams.
- In the spin-off manga Ribbon Warrior, Saunders has division called "Flying Tankers Volunteer Group" for tankathlon competitions, commanded by Alisa.
- Despite being a United States themed school, Saunders used a Sherman VC "Firefly" which was a British conversion of the Sherman M4A4 ("Sherman V" is the British terminology) replacing the gun with a 17pdr, and was never used by the US-Army.
- Despite this being the 6th armored division,which we can tell from Yukari when she was caught, the Insignia carried by Saunders resembles that of the 2nd Infantry Division.
- Sergeant "Chip" Saunders, played by actor Vic Morrow, was one of the main characters in the American television series Combat! which aired from 1962 to 1967.
- At one point, Saunders tried to purchase a Karl-Gerät 040, despite it it being a German-made machine.
- Although it is implied by Miho that Saunders possesses multiple Sherman VC Firefly tanks, they are only ever seen fielding one at any time.