Speech given by Warrant Officer Case Bentley, formerly of Jump Troop One of the 3rd Planetstorm Army, addressing the graduating class of Cadets from UNECOM, Sahara, 2105.
Welcome to the United Nations of the Earth Powered Infantry forces, boys and girls. And congratulations on your commission to Infantry, where you’ll be putting your butts on the line and in the mud right alongside your command. Now I know you’ve heard this all before, but before we send you out into space to fight on some off-world dustball where your mommies and daddies can’t protect you anymore, High Command figures its a good idea that someone who’s actually got some combat experience tells you how it’s gonna be. Listen up kiddies; these are righteous words I speak, against today’s weapons this powered armor that makes you feel so high and mighty is little more protection than saran wrap. You’ll find soon enough that Earth Dogs don’t die so hard as the tee-vee show “McAulliff’s Revenge” would have you believe. When you find yourself in a serious fire-fight only three things are gonna see you to home--your combat rifle, your tenacious desire to stay alive, and the tactics our noble race have developed over our two-thousand year history of genocidal warfare. It’s those tactics I’m supposed to describe to you before you all go off to some combat zone and get some un-deserving enlisted man killed for your lack of experience and officer ineptitude.
PART I: KNOW YOUR WEAPONS
This here is the RAM LASER, the best Combat Rifle in the entire League of Aliens arsenal. First thing you do when you land in a hot combat zone is thank Mr. Rolachev for designing such a fine killing machine. The RAM laser has excellent accuracy and armor penetration out to a full 60 meters (30”)--that’s a good ten meters more then the Machines’ infamous Deadbolt Launchers, as well as most other Alien weapons you’ll be fighting against or beside. Take advantage of that range advantage, kiddies, and leave the knife-fighting to your pals in Commando training.
The TOW-7 is another fine piece of Terran hardware, designed to engage enemy vehicles a full 150 meters away. Your entire Platoon has only fourteen of these, however, and believe me, if you see an Arch Fiend or a Warbear stride onto the battlefield you’re gonna want to make every shot count. Never, ever fire the TOW before you’re ready. If you fire the TOW and miss you not only have wasted a five-thousand dollar piece of ordnance, you’ve drawn unwanted attention to yourself.
I’m not gonna fool you into thinking the over-under GRENADE LAUNCHER is up to snuff with enemy technology; until you see a buddy die screaming from disruption you don’t know what true terror is. But the PLASMA GRENADE has two advantages over laser fire--area saturation and indirect fire. Use indirect fire to harass and pin down your enemy as you advance. Use area saturation to drive them out of their holes and out into the open where they can be picked-off by your friend the RAM laser.
The FLECHETTE GUN is a beautiful support weapon that, like the RAM laser, out-ranges most enemy light machine-guns you’ll be facing. Set this bad boy up at the proper range and suppress or spread-fire your way to long life and many a cold beer. Remember that the Flechette Gun is a SUPPORT weapon. Contrary to popular belief you ARE NOT Bad Boy Leroy of “McAuliff’s Revenge” and the Flechette Gun CAN NOT be fired accurately on the run.
The AUTORAM LASER packs more firepower than an entire PI Section’s support team. An AutoRam and E-Loader firing together can suppress a corridor of death that even the most heavily armored enemy will think twice about entering, and autofiring on a tightly-packed enemy formation will quickly teach them the error of bunching together like sardines.
Like the Tow-7, the CARL-GUSTAV MARK IV is a battlefield-proven design with more than one-hundred years of field testing and design upgrades in its history. Work your way under cover to within 60 meters (30”) of an enemy colossus to give it a HEAP headache it will never forget, rip holes in enemy formations and take down heavily armored infantry with CARP rounds, or blow rats out of their holes with HEAVY K-PULSE rounds. Leave the EMP at home, boys and girls, and shoot to kill, not stun.
The CALLIOPE rocket launcher suffers from the same problem as its little brother, the grenade launcher. Although the Calliope gives new meaning to the words “area bombardment”, its ordnance isn’t up to snuff. The plasma grenade-tipped rockets that the Calliope pumps out generally aren’t very effective at fragging hostiles, but they will definitely keep their heads down and your advancing maneuver elements safe and comfy. They’re also just as effective against heavy armor as weak, so be sure and center your bombardments on Assault Fiends and Storm Angels. And you never know, you might just get lucky...
PART II: ROCK AND ROLL
A wise old philosopher once said “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, and a wiser Elvis Presley once said “You’ve gotta Rock AND Roll.” The main goal of infantry tactics is to keep the enemy pinned-down while you maneuver in for the kill. That’s why you want to separate your Powered Infantry Sections into two parts--a SUPPORT element that I call ROCK, and a MANEUVER element that I call ROLL. C’mon, admit it, EVERYONE wants to be like The King!
ROCK element consists of a Powered Infantry Section’s two Flechette Gunners, a Grenadier and the Corporal. They’re designed to deny the objectives to the enemy. ROCK’s job is to rush ahead to a covered position, preferably on high ground, and start rocking. ROCK has two modes of movement--running and standing still. As soon as ROCK reaches its objective it can suppress the choke-points the enemy is trying to maneuver through. If some pinned-down enemy pushes his luck and exposes himself, he’s easy pickings for the Corporal’s RAM laser. So long as ROCK keeps hostiles away from tactical lanes, or keeps them pinned down so they can’t move, your Platoon already owes each man with a Flechette Gun a beer.
ROLL element consists of a Sergeant, 2 Troopers, and a Grenadier. Their job is to take objective territory or assault the enemy Rock’s pinned down. ROLL’s job is to MANEUVER, and as a maneuver element it should never meet the enemy head-on. ROLL optimizes its own cover while maneuvering around to the rear of an enemy’s cover, where it can shoot them in the back. Remember, kiddies, the safest and most effective way to kill someone is in the back! This ain’t the Old West and you aren’t Clint Eastwood. The only thing a toe-to-toe showdown will get you is a first-class ticket home in a pine box. If ROLL is pinned down by an enemy support section on its way to the objective, ROLL simply hunkers down behind cover and the Serge and Troopers have a smoke while the Grenadier punches his way out with indirect fire and the help of Rock’s support fire.
Notice, boys and girls, that your own HEADQUARTERS is not designed to Roll, but only to ROCK. Your Section’s two Grenadiers, the Calliope Trooper and your Warrant Officer all kick back behind cover and lob grenades at the enemy. I know, I know, I can already hear the complaints, but the Warrant Officer is a veteran enlisted man who’s seen enough combat to make you wet your diapers, and he’s EARNED the right to avoid crawling through the mud. You, on the other hand, are the next worst thing to the enemy. You, my little over-educated spoiled weenies, are OFFICERS. If you ever want to earn the respect of your troops you get your ass up there with the AutoRam Trooper and Carl-G gunner to where the REAL fighting is. Besides, you don’t have an indirect fire weapon, and God knows the Calliope Trooper won’t listen to the advice of a Lieutenant anyway, so you might as well get your rifle into the combat where it can do some good. Like ROCK find yourself some high ground with some good cover and an excellent field of view. Rip into any enemy in view with your AutoRam and Carl-G until they scatter. Then wait and see if they re-appear. If they don’t, advance to a new position and repeat the pattern. Your own ROCK section should have a healthy distrust of suppression. After all, suppression is designed to DENY territory to the enemy, and you WANT the enemy to show his head--because I guarantee the Carl-G gunner wants to take that head right off.
PART III: THE BATTLEFIELD
As a Powered Infantry Trooper you’ll find yourself fighting in environments you never even thought existed. We have been called in to fight for airless, volcano-cragged mountains, lush terra-formed jungles and dense urban areas. No matter what the specific battlefield, however, you can always follow some basic guidelines that ought to improve your life expectancy, and more importantly, that of the enlisted men fighting under your command.
First of all, there’s a poet that once said “I took the road less traveled and that made all the difference.” That poet might as well have been a soldier, ‘cause the road less traveled is the road that’s gonna keep you alive. Why? Because the road more traveled is MINED. And if it isn’t mined, it’s BOOBY-TRAPPED. And if it isn’t booby-trapped, the enemy is waiting there in AMBUSH. Never go where the enemy expects you to. Sure, it makes life a little harder, but it also makes that life last longer.
Secondly, MAINTAIN YOUR SPACING. If you expect imminent enemy contact but don’t know where they are, travel in a WEDGE. ROLL wedge should move ahead of ROCK wedge. Draw straws to see which Trooper has to travel POINT, and flank him with a Grenadier and the remaining Trooper, completing the diamond formation with the Sergeant bringing up the rear. Behind the Sergeant is ROCK’s Grenadier, flanked by two Flechette gunners, followed by their Corporal. The whole formation should look something like this:
Corporal Grenadier Sergeant Trooper -------->
If the unlucky Trooper on point springs a booby-trap or ambush, ROLL hits the dirt and tries to crawl to cover while ROCK opens up with their Flechette guns and its point-man’s grenade launcher. Once they’re hunkered down ROLL’s grenadier helps ROCK out with indirect grenade fire.
Remember that your optimal spacing is 6 METERS (3”). You want to remain behind as much cover as possible, however, and sparse cover might force you to bunch up. But sardines make excellent targets for Thumper-propelled disrupter grenades, and no death is worse than that.
MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT. Leaders should stay within line of sight of their troops. You never know what’s gonna happen next on the battlefield, and you need to be able to recognize surprises immediately if you want to get your troopers to safety. Plans, after all, only work up to the point of enemy contact.
REMAIN INVISIBLE. If you are in the frontier, travel through patches of woods, along river bottoms, or behind the ridges of hills. If you are in an urban area travel through buildings instead of around them. Don’t expose yourself to enemy sight and hostile fire until you are sure you can take out the resistance.
DANGER AREAS are locations that must be crossed or taken despite their vulnerability to enemy fire. Wide roads, alleys, or fields fall into this category. The UNE believes your best defense is a strong offense, which is why you have not been issued with Fade to Gray grenades. You MUST pin the enemy down to proceed across danger areas safely. Grenades, Calliope Rockets, Rock’s suppressive fire and the Carl-G’s Heavy K-Pulse rounds should all be pumped into the enemy positions at the instant a maneuver element tries to make an open crossing. If you bring enough firepower down onto the enemy’s heads, even the Machines will flinch, in which case you Maneuver element will find its way to safety.
Good luck, and remember you’ll be writing letters back to the mothers, sisters and wives of the enlisted men who die under your command.