TACTICS: PERSONAL WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT
Before we get into depth, I have to address the Vuralans and their invasion. For a while, I almost didn’t put them on my list of real invasions. I almost lumped them with the Gryphonians, or the Kr’rk, and the others who failed to even get started. But Vuralans did make it to Earth. They did set up shop, and they did conduct a number of aggressive acts. Most of those included killing and eating several teenage humans. We’ll get into why that’s a bad idea later. For now just look at this footage.
(The 3D footage this time is off a brutish Vuralan chasing a scantily dressed girl through a dark woods.)
Are the Vuralans here? Just arrived? Good. Can you guys tell me something? Why are you running around without any clothes?
This is why I have a hard time even putting this in the invasion category. It’s like you’re here for exhibitionism. And it makes no sense. The Earthlings don’t even know that you’re wiggling your privates as you chase after them.
(The hologram now shows a close up of the Vuralan and indeed he is wearing nothing but his slimy hide.)
But we do. Hold on a moment.
(Thankfully at this point the image pixilates all five of the Vuralan’s exposed genitalia. There is much snickering from the Vuralans section.)
That’s better. With that, let’s jump into weapons and equipment. Because uniforms count as equipment.
All joking aside, what equipment do you use? This section covers personal weapons issued to all troops and standard equipment. Communications are covered under Command and Control in the next chapter.
So what are the weapons of your army? I mean the basic stuff. Here’s where you guys make a huge mistake. In the invasions I’ve reviewed, you’ve given each individual trooper an energy weapon capable of knocking down an entire building. Have you never heard of freaking overkill?
As we’ll discuss later in the ground fighting tactics chapter, you don’t need to be knocking down a building with every shot. This is especially true if your men are in the damn building. That’s not what you want with a personal weapon, anyway. The purpose of a main weapon is to engage individual targets. It should do enough damage to incapacitate or kill an enemy soldier. It might be able to penetrate terran armor units. It might be able to shoot down their fighter aircraft. That would be nice, but it’s not essential. You want your soldiers first to be able to kill enemy soldiers, because that will be their main job. Yes, you want your foot soldiers to be able to take on all kinds of targets, but their primary job is to engage other infantry. You can issue heavier weapons for other targets; we’ll discuss those later.
The weapon should have a good rate of fire, and should be capable of firing bursts. Bursts are useful for keeping the heads of opposing forces down while other troops get position on them. Also, if the enemy is dumb enough to charge at you en masse, you can mow them down. The guns could be directed energy weapons like plasma or lasers, magnetic projectile weapons like needle or bolt guns, or even chemically powered slug throwers not unlike what the Earthlings use.
It also should be easy to use and simple to maintain. If you need the services of a trained physicist every time your weapon jams, you’ve got a problem.
Speaking of simple to use, I want to talk about sights. I’ve seen a lot of invaders use advanced targeting systems on everything, including personal weapons. I appreciate what targeting systems can do. I’m not against improved accuracy. But what happens if the targeting system fails or is damaged? Can your guy still fire his weapon? Are these weapons even made to be aimed manually? I’ve seen some that look like remote wands. How are you supposed to get a sight picture with those things? If you can provide all your troopers with targeting systems, more power to you. But in an emergency they have to be able to manually aim their weapons. It should be designed for that. Sights aren’t that hard to put on a weapon. You just need two dots on the weapon, between any two points is a straight line. You hold these up to your eyeball and you see if your gun barrel is lined up or not. The targeting system should be fitted over the manual sights, and can be removed if it’s damaged.
Also, don’t depend on targeting systems during training. Have the soldiers first train aiming manually first. If they get used to firing with targeting assistance, they tend to get sloppy. And sloppiness leads to troops getting killed.
One thing that gets overlooked all the time is a sling or a holster to carry the weapon. For example, the Scythian ground troops carried their weapons inside their battle suits.
What happened during the battle is that a lot of these systems were damaged or malfunctioned. As a result, several Bloodlords went into battle unarmed!
It’s a perfect example of what happens when you overthink a problem. Straps, pockets, combat webbing, and holsters have no moving parts. They don’t need an energy source to function. They’re also easy to adjust. If a trooper likes carrying his weapon in a certain way, he can do so. Take me, for example. In the field, I like to loop a gun belt with a side holster over one arm and wear it like a shoulder holster.
My new lady friend says I look like a slob when I do that. Maybe, but for whatever reason my hand likes to draw my gun from that position. And I wouldn’t be able to draw like that if tweaking my weapon harness involved rearranging several armor plates and a couple of servo motors.
Speaking of keeping things simple, grenades are still very effective, be they fragmentation, stun, smoke, EMC, thermal, wire tangle, or what have you. Every trooper should learn how to use and throw one.
An alternative is the gyroc launcher. A gyroc is a miniature missile. It’s fired from magnetic tube. The magnetic force propels the gyroc forward several meters. Once it’s a safe distance away, the rocket kicks in and speeds to the target. A gyroc launcher can be mounted beneath a rifle for a potent two-in-one combination.
Bladed weapons may seem like the ultimate anachronism, but they have a place. Most species evolved with a distinct fear of being stabbed with sharp, pointy things, and the humans are no exception. Blades are an excellent weapon during a charge. Better than any other weapon, they convince people to retreat. There’s no mistaking a blade. The humans aren’t going to stand their ground out of sheer curiosity, wondering what that thing in your hand is. They know what a blade can do. That’s the point.
On Earth, they call that a pun.
But the problem is blades are a great weapon so long as they aren’t used. They’re good for discouraging hand-to-hand combat. If it breaks down to melee fighting, then all the rules go out the window. You can have every advantage in the book, but up close and personal a lot of those vanish.
With our tech level, we can make blades out of alloys and compounds far stronger than terran steel. Please note, however, that just because a blade is made out of a metal stronger than steel, that doesn’t mean you can go hacking through Earth tank armor like it was tissue paper. The hardness and strength of the blade is one thing; you still have to have the physical power to drive it through the metal. Otherwise, you’re just making a lot of scratches.
Technology can help that along. You can install micro motors inside the blade so that it saws through the metal.
You can place an inertial control inside the blade to exponentially increase the power of each swing.
You can pipe glowing hot plasma through the blade.
But when using these, you need plenty of protection. Plasma gives off a lot of heat, and you can burn your own face off just by bringing the blade to a guard position.
Speaking of blades, your troopers should also be carrying a multi-purpose bladed tool like this one.
Soldiering involves a lot more than just shooting stuff up. Your troops will find they have a million little jobs to do every step of the way. And they’re going to want the tools to do them. Why bother sending laser cutters and force levitators with every patrol? Even if you can afford it, that’s more energy packs the troops have to carry, more items that can break down. They should be carrying some simple all-purpose tools. Unless they want to dig holes with their bare hands.
Some vision aids are helpful. Light sources, telescopic devices, full range visual scanners. You want troops to be able to see.
Where do your guys sleep? What do they eat? What do they drink? When I look at past invasions, I see guys carrying around big ass blasters and nothing else. I wonder how long these guys can go before they drop dead of hunger.
Rations, people! Your troopers should be carrying enough food and drinking liquid to keep them supplied for at least two to three days. They’re going to need some kind of shelter, and a bedroll. Then there’s also an emergency medical pack, plus direction finding equipment. Some personal hygiene articles are needed. I don’t know about you, but creatures that wallow in their own filth tend to get diseases. A change of clothing may be required, depending on how resistant your race is to skin rashes.
And yes, uniforms are a must. They create a sense of unit identity. That is one of the psychological keys to creating a professional fighting force. But beyond the symbolic nature, uniforms and battle attire are necessary for basic hygiene. They keep dirt, mud, insects, and other stuff off your flesh. They provide some much needed warmth and protection from the elements. All these things can lead to disease. Think about that the next time you want to chase Earth girls in the altogether.
A word about special forces equipment. One of the main purposes of special forces is to operate behind enemy lines for extended periods of time. This is pretty damn difficult when you’re on your own planet or a world with a compatible biosphere. But things get even more complicated on a place like Earth.
Finally, the troopers are going to need something to carry all this, whether that’s a good, old-fashioned pack, a carrying vest, or a miniature transdimensional portal. I wouldn’t recommend that last choice. One slip up, and find yourself reaching into a black hole to get your toothpaste.
When you add it up, personal equipment can be a big freaking load. Now you know why you practiced marching your troops. And expect that load to increase. You never can tell when you need to include even more. There’s always something else the guys need when they’re in the field. If you’re smart and efficient you’ll listen to them. Which brings us to the next topic.