All of you students have been educated in the practices of city combat, and you've all seen enough arena duelling to talk tactics with the pros. Highway duelling, though, is completely different. The school administration has asked me to share some of my experience on the subject.
Highway combat in the past was far simpler than today. Weaponry was predictable and tactics straightforward. Today, the wide variety of vehicular technology allows a broader range of strategies. Keeping track of the diversity on the road may seem a job for computers, not drivers, but there are really only four main things for the road duellist to remember: tactics, the road, speed, and equipment.
Two styles from the basis of highway tactics, the all-out attack and the tire-shoot. The all-out attack relies on brute force to take the enemy out and consists of closing until a range is reached where major weaponry can be used successfully. Generally, the heavier the weaponry, the better: AT guns, linked weapons, massive rocket attacks and lasers are favorite armament packages for this tactic. Unfortunately, being close to the target allows him to fire back; this proximity also leaves you vulnerable to dropped weapons.
The second tactic, the tire-shoot, utilizes a less direct way of destroying your enemy, letting him destroy himself in an accident. At high speeds, there's no better way of doing this than shooting off a tire. This demands high-accuracy weapons, such as lasers, MGs or RRs. Its biggest drawback is the time it takes to range in on the tire, during which the target chips away at your armor. On the plus side, the medium range at which this tactic is most useful usually allows reaction space to avoid dropped weapons.
Though these tactics were conceived a long time ago, all new technology has done is make them harder to execute. New wheelguards and hubs protect tires from fire, smoke dischargers and more efficient smokescreens block lasers and hinder fire, and new armor reduces the old king-of-the-road, the laser, to a mid-strength weapon. Chipping away at armor, the all-out attack, becomes even more dangerous when you're behind the foe, thanks to deadly dropped weapons added to normal guns.
Watch the road. I can't stress that highly enough. Who knows what may be on it? If you're following someone in a battle, keep alert for dropped weapons. In the past two years, more fire extinguishers have been installed than in all previous years combined! Before, you see, all we had to watch out for were spikes, mines and oil, with smoke as an occasional annoyance. Now, the average duellist can coat the road with fire or ice, or smother it with smoke and paint in a single second - he can even put oil right in front of your car, thanks to the oil gun. Watch the road, and watch your maneuvering just as closely. At highway speeds, a single mishap can end the battle.
Speed kills - but speed saves, too. One mistake at eighty-plus mph will send you into a flaming wreck half the time. But statistics show that your enemy's chances of scoring a hit while you're travelling at that speed are reduced by well over 40% in highway situations. High speed also helps you keep up with him, improving your chances of hitting. What's the solution? There isn't one. If you can at all afford them, use spoilers, airdams, and heavy-duty shocks. Those three items, weighing in around 220 pounds, greatly increase your survivability at highway speeds.
But technology is no substitute for skill and experience. Maneuver as little as possible - in some situations, just running over dropped weapons is less hazardous than trying to avoid them; that's the kind of snap decision you'll have to learn to make - and make correctly - to keep control at high speed.
The last item on the checklist is equipment. As I said before, tailor your weapons to the tactics and situation. If your foe's behind you, use dropped weapons to slow him down and force him to maneuver. If you're using oil, shoot him when he's right on that oil! A single flinch in reaction to a hit can send him crashing. If you have mines, wait for him to get close, where he can't easily avoid them. And in any case, attempt to coat the road from one side to the other; make sure that he can't avoid hitting the stuff without driving into a ditch.
Unfortunately, dropped weapons are defensive; it's a heavy limitation. Your offensive weapons had better not be as limited. Unless you have weapons mounted in front and behind, you'll need at least one turret-mounted gun. Good choices are MGs, Vulcans, and magazine-supplied weapons - you need lots of ammo, because the turret gun will do most of the fighting.
What to mount out of the turret? That depends on your tactics. Autocannon and laser-guided rockets join lasers as good weapons for either tactic, due to their accuracy; if you can afford the price tag, the gauss gun is a light-weight alternative to the autocannon. Use linked weapons if you're all-out attacking - nowadays, you have to knock him out quick or he'll knock you out instead. Fore tire-shooting, use weapons with good accuracy. The Vulcan and MG are very effective, especially when combined with tracer ammunition; the low damage of tracer ammo pretty much restricts you to shooting at tires, but a large number of consistent hits will destroy even a metal-cored solid. Other good choices are autocannon, RRs, lasers and laser-guided ordnance. The grenade launcher comes into it's own on the highway; with grenades, you don't have to hit, just come close.
In summation, I must say that I have found that, on the highway, victory doesn't necessarily go to the fastest, or the fanciest, or the richest. Victory usually goes to the duellist who uses coordinated tactics and equipment.
Remember - Drive Offensively!