As with starship weaponry, weapons used in planetary combat are quite diverse. Unlike with starship weaponry, it is not at all uncommon for one nation to explore multiple venues of projectiles, propulsion for munitions, et cetera, in part based off the different atmospheres and climes each nation must be able to fight in, however some ideas ring true with all.
For small arms, please refer to the Small Arms page.
Table of Contents
- 1 VEHICULAR WEAPONRY
- 2 ARTILLERY
- 3 VEHICLES
- 4 PROPULSION
Guns, as with smaller weaponry, encompasses all weaponry in which the projectile is not mostly self-propelled; they may range from smaller weapons that may only be mounted versions of crew-served weaponry to large tank or artillery cannons.
A cannon is a characteristically slow-firing, heavy-damage dealing weapon. These weapons often have the capability of killing vehicles of similar size to the one firing the weapon with only a few shots. A energy-based cannons fire large bolts of energy, such as lasers, as opposed to a continuous stream.
Repeaters, rapid-firing weapons, are more ideally used for killing enemies which are fast moving, such as aircraft, or numerous smaller enemies, such as foot-soldiers. They fire in a near-continuous or continuous volley and are highly effective at laying down covering-fire or delivering a high volume of relatively smaller ordnance. Repeaters mounted on vehicles may not be successful in trying to kill similarly sized vehicles without expending a great deal of ammunition.
Missiles, while harder to mount in great quantity, are often the great equalizer; while a small vehicle may not be able to mount a cannon capable of taking out a tank, a small patrol vehicle could easily mount a missile launcher capable of doing so, provided it can thwart the tanks’ defenses.
A missile may be mounted with a wide variety of payloads, including but not limited to explosive, armor-piercing or bunker-busting, gravitic charges, or mission-specific ordnance.
Missiles mounted on mobile or immobile artillery units may be used for defense against in-orbit spacecraft.
Rockets, depending on volume, are often closer in classification to cannons or repeaters.
Artillery may use several different forms of weaponry, but the most common is missiles or rockets due to their wide array of functionality and greater range, while being able to hit targets hiding behind structures or terrain, though many kinetic rounds have the ability to guide themselves.
Artillery may be self-propelled or towed, and in some situations is fixed. The less mobility awarded to the piece often alludes to a higher firepower able to be delivered and difficulty to destroy.
Vehicles are unarguably one of the most important elements in conducting planetary warfare. They conduct almost every role imaginable and are used in almost every mission.
Vehicles may be tracked, wheeled, hover, or be otherwise primarily tied to the ground.
UTILITY & PATROL VEHICLES
Patrol vehicles, utility vehicles, light-trucks, and other such small vehicles are often lightly armored and ill-suited for all but urban combat. They are, however, the cheapest of military vehicles, useful in a wide number of roles, and provide superb levels of mobility.
They are often easily taken down by small-arms, especially light-anti-vehicle weapons. Some, like the Alliance Gorilla, are more robust and fill the roll of APC as well.
Examples: Caysing Gorilla “Gibbon”
INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLES
IFVs, also known as APCs, are less multi-purpose than patrol vehicles but are much more heavily armored and armed. While not fit to go toe-to-toe with tanks, an IFV may carry missiles capable of bringing down these larger foes or even aircraft. IFVs are usually armed with small cannons or repeaters similar to or larger than crew-served weapons, making them ideal to suppress groups of soldiers at once or take out emplacements for their disembarked soldiers.
The primary purpose of an IFV is to deliver troops, usually a squad, to a field of battle quickly and then remain on-station to support them in their mission as heavy firepower. In this aspect, IFVs and APCs are one of the most important aspects of having an effective Mechanized Infantry unit.
A tank is an armored fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat. They are often the heaviest, most well defended and most heavily armed ground units employed. Tanks usually carry a cannon or missiles capable of destroying an enemy tank in short order, though with appropriate armor and defenses this may prove difficult even for other tanks if the shots are not properly aimed at weak points. When properly employed, tanks are a force to be reckoned with and a single one in the proper place may turn the tide of battle.
While large and imposing, when conducting combat that is not physically high-velocity and constantly moving, such as urban combat, tanks must be pared with infantry and mechanized infantry units to ensure they are not overrun by enemy infantry, who could gain positional advantage and destroy the tank with sufficient firepower placed at the weak areas.
Often overlooked, support vehicles, such as ambulances, supply trucks, firetrucks, cranes, and the like are essential logistical components. They come in a large array of sizes and shapes, but when fighting a war, forgetting these logistic components is the fastest way to lose.
INFANTRY POWERED ARMOR
Infantry powered armor, usually referred to as simply “powered armor,” is a suit, fully enclosed or not, which enables a soldier to conduct feats beyond the capability of a normal human. Smaller suits look more like plates of knight-armor of old, roughly human sized. These are the most common, granting speed, strength, and agility but most soldiers wearing this armor carry weapons only a little heavier than an unassisted human.
Powered Armor covers armor-units including suits where the wearer’s limbs extend into the limbs of the armor, if not all the way down the appendages. The largest of powered armors often use weaponry similar to crew-served weapon units.
Walking armor, which ranges in size from 4 to 12 meters in height, is mostly used for scouting, especially in urban combat. Most are two or four-legged, and while they have light physical armor or none at all, many are equipped with active defenses and shields for protection, as they must remain light for their feet to support them.
Walking armor may carry weapons of considerable firepower, though two-legged units have difficulty with cannons similar to those used on tanks without the ability to brace themselves.
Due to their often vulnerable nature, walking armor units are unpopular with many nations. It is distinctly different from power armor in that it has a cabin, vice being a suit.
Propulsion of ground vehicles comes in nearly as much variety as the weapons they carry, and each has it’s own purpose, usually trading off speed, maneuverability, and weight limits. The general rule of thumb is that the more surface area the method of propulsion uses, the more weight the vehicle can carry but the slower it will be. The once exception to this rule is hovering-vehicles, which require large amounts of energy or fuel to work, but can carry heavy payloads if they are willing to expend great amounts of fuel, and can move quickly, again, trading off fuel for speed.
Methods of propulsion are rated in four categories: Speed, armor capacity, terrain, armament, and maneuverability, with the ratings of poor, decent, good, high, and extreme.
TERRAIN CAPABILITY: HIGH
Hovering vehicles use gravitic-repulsion or air-cushions to propel themselves off the ground and around. For this reason they have extreme maneuverability, even being able to often scale large structures. However, every improvement of any stat comes at the cost of range, as more energy or fuel must be consumed in order to compensate for the added weight or speed.
TERRAIN CAPABILITY: HIGH
Tracked vehicles use a combination of wheels, gears and idlers which are guided by and surrounded by linked plates to create their own traversible surface giving them immense stability, grip and great maneuverability. Tracks do limit their speed somewhat, which is compensated for by armor and weaponry, which can be managed due to the large surface area the tracks grant the vehicle. Tracked vehicles are often the heaviest on the battlefield and the most imposing, usually in the form of a tank or artillery unit.
Tracked vehicles of all purposes are also used frequently in low-friction environments, such as icy areas.
TERRAIN CAPABILITY: GOOD
Half tracked vehicles combine tracked elements with front/rear wheels or hover technology elements; this type of propulsion is a bridge between tracked and wheeled, and generally has mixed pros and cons of both tracked and wheeled vehicles. Like with tracked units, they are common in low-friction environments, but as they have neither the best of both words of a wheeled vehicle’s speed or the ability to take full advantage of surface-area of tracks in regards to weight, they are not frequently used when not needed for traction.
TERRAIN CAPABILITY: GOOD
Wheeled vehicles are some of the most common vehicles for their low-energy needs and high speed. Unfortunately, higher mobility models utilizing, two, three, or four wheels tend to have low weight tolerances and so cannot have heavy armament, cargo, or armor. Larger units may use more wheels, sacrificing mobility for load-bearing.
TERRAIN CAPABILITY: GOOD
Bipedal armor units, also referred to as “mechs,” are most frequently used as scouts or light-urban combat units. Their high center of gravity and power weight-distribution characteristics made them impossible as good combatants for centuries, and are the reason why they cannot carry comparable armor or armament to a tank. With missiles, however, they can make effective tank killers as they are highly mobile and have a height-advantage.
TERRAIN CAPABILITY: GOOD-TO-EXTREME
The bigger brother of the bipedal mech, these units are generally much slower due to their more complex mechanical setup and higher weight, but can go where tracked vehicles cannot go and do not have the energy requirements of a typical hover unit. They usually can suffer the loss of a limb or sometimes two, whereas a tracked vehicle is effectively stopped when it loses a single track. The total weight can be comparable to light tracked vehicles, however a similarly sized tank will always be able to have heavier armor and armament. A multi-legged vehicle can, however, scale much more rugged surfaces given appropriate design unassisted by energy-consuming boosters.