Thursday, October 22, 2015
Artillery in Rifts
Ever since I got Merc ops (a while back), I've been grumbling over its comments about artillery.
On page 125, it says "artillery seems antiquated and much less effective."
I disagree for a number of reasons.
1. Difficult to track: Even if the big guns are slow, the mortar if anything has been bred new life in the battlefield. In WWII, the allies hated dealing with the german 50-mm light mortar. The main reason for this is that the mortar literally could come from anywhere and were difficult to track.
Now wouldn't you like that tactical advantage if you were dealing with a demon/monster that has been terrorizing the country side. You pick up 2 to 3 3-man mortar teams, and shell it from multiple angles, and the demon/monster will either flee the area or get trashed, for it has literally no idea where it's attackers are.
Even if the enemy has modern sensors, the attackers are literally under the tree line, making radar useless, and they can use range to stay out of nightvision and infrared range, provided they know where their target is. And if they are driving a 20 foot to 30 foot robot, it becomes fairly easy to spot.
2. Targeting an area rather then a person: It is always easier to fire at a land mass then at an actual character, and it takes less training. Even if you miss, you can still get them in the blast radius, as what it was designed for.
3. Cost: A mortar costs 2000 Credits in rifts, and it's ammo is roughly the same cost as a CS grenades. Comparing that with prices of a simple wlk's 320 laser pistol which is 11,000 credits, and the very expensive cost of recharging e-clips makes the mortar very cheap indeed. You can train 3 man teams with it and the cost goes down even further.
Even the big guns are much less expensive then other weapons of note: the 105 mm howitzer costs 150,000 credits, the 155mm costs 350,000 credits, and the GAW-155 Electromagnetic Howitzers costs a whopping million credits.
In contrast, the Samas costs 1.6 million credits, a NG samson costs 850,000 Credits and when you get to giant robots, it starts getting into the multiple millions of credits. For the cost of one samson, you can purchase 5 105 mm guns and still have money over for ammo.
4. Technology and Tricks: There are a number of tricks and traps that have been developed using modern artillery. For starters, if the defenders have a chance to survey the area, they will have a good idea which way attackers will assault the position. Plus with scouts with maps and secure radios on hovercycles, one can fire on a particular area, long before an enemy comes in threat range.
Another trick for a slower, yet still mobile artilery is to take either a mountaineer or rolling thunder and have it pull a 105 mm with a solid connection that allows the heavy vehicle to fire it from the cab. Build 4 or five of these and give it good radius, and they can act as each other's forward observer, and rain firey death on their targets. Plus can move fairly quickly out of position, while the other vehicles drop artillery to provide cover. Plus with a good targeting system, can compensate somewhat for fast opponents. Also sensors of all sorts can help identify a target for shelling. It is still cheaper then most power armor to boot.
Artillery can be used to fire a wide range of ammo, from poison gas, to incendiary (to start fires), to anti-personal and anti-armor rounds. There are also Air burst rounds for those flying targets that probably wouldn't be hit by normal artillery.
Finally, if your worried that your neighbours know about your artillery, just pull an old trick learned from mash. Put it in a tent, and/or thatch house, and have it built to be pulled down quickly when needed.
In short, I believe that artillery is still dang useful in post -apocalyptic rifts.