Combine Infantry Weapons and Tactics in GURPS Ogre
by Henry J. Cobb
GURPS Ogre covers mostly Paneuropean personnel and equipment and Combine Ogres and as noted the battlesuits are fairly close, but the actual infantry weapons are quite different. The biggest difference is that every Combine battlesuit has a 20-pound capacity hardpoint in each arm. (The pair adds $4 to the suit cost and takes 2 pounds from the weapons capacity for each suit.)
The Paneuropeans attribute the Combine's battlesuit weapon choices (a gun firing depleted uranium ammunition and a missile with a nuclear warhead) to a callous disregard for the environmental health of the countries the Combine occupies, but the actual reasons are more complex. Combine tactical doctrine revolves around the SATNUC (Saturation Nuclear Cluster) warhead they invented and its effects on various levels of armor protection.
Armor Level Zero (AL0) is DR24 or less. At this level the SATNUC secondary burst radius is considered lethal. Targets at this Armor Level are engaged by 6mm gunfire if in the open or loose SATNUC fire if under cover.
Armor Level One (AL1) is DR25 to DR69. At this level the SATNUC primary burst radius is effective and either 6mm gunfire or more carefully aimed SATNUC fire is needed. Unpowered infantry armor usually offers this level of protection. Also most Paneuropean battlesuit weapons are at this level or less making it rather easy to disarm them, even if the shockwave fails to penetrate their suits.
Armor Level Two (AL2) is DR70 to DR200. At this level or above only a direct hit from a SATNUC will damage the target so 6mm gunfire is favored. Tactical missiles and battlesuits are armored to this level to defend against blast effects and are hopefully mobile enough to avoid most direct nuclear hits and are therefore engaged with armor piercing automatic fire.
Armor Level Three (AL3) is DR201 to DR4,200. At this level 6mm gunfire is ineffective but a single SATNUC round can still penetrate with a direct hit and so nukes are favored.
Armor Level Four (AL4) is DR4,201 to DR11,000. At this level several SATNUC direct hits would be required to seriously damage the target but the largest tank cannon rounds can still punch through. Infantry requires massed attacks to defeat armor at this level or greater.
Armor Level Five (AL5) is DR levels above 11,000 that require multiple hits by the most powerful weapons to destroy.
The 6mm gun pod was primarily developed to deal with targets at Armor Level Two, to cover the gap between the SATNUC area and direct hit effects. Targets with either more or less armor are more effectively engaged with nuclear fire.
The battlesuit-launched nuclear weapon that the Combine chose -- the Shaped Nuclear-charge Indirect-fire Precision Engagement, or SNIPE, missile -- is a stealthy subsonic missile that follows a preplotted course to the designated target location and then releases a single SATNUC submunition to seek out a target.
For the first second after launch, the SNIPE missile is boosted up to almost 400 miles per hour by a decidedly non-stealthy solid rocket engine (aPSig -1, interception -10); then it slowly accelerates on a more stealthy ramjet (aPSig -10, interception -17) for another 15 seconds, covering a little over a mile on an evasive course at three fourths the speed of sound.
During the first second after launch the SNIPE missile is considered a direct fire weapon and is fired with the Gunner (Rocket Launcher) skill, beyond that range the missile is always an indirect fire attack and is targeted with the Gunner (Guided Missile) skill. Combine troopers are taught both skills and are especially feared in overrun combat where their missiles can hit before the target has a chance to apply point defense fire.
Ranger units use a smarter and more stealthy missile that takes five seconds to cover the first 90 yards on a small jet engine but continues to accelerate and travels three miles during a minute long evasive dash. The aPSig for this missile in flight is always -17 and interception is -20.
A typical load for a standard battlesuit would be one gun pod, 20 box magazines of 6mm gun ammunition and 10 SNIPE missiles for a total weight of 139 pounds of weapons, leaving 29 pounds for other weapons and cargo. If combat was imminent the trooper would have a gun pod mounted on the hardpoint of his primary arm (for defense against missiles and other infantry) and a missile mounted on the hardpoint of his other arm (to engage vehicles or groups of infantry).
Marine battlesuits are equipped in a similar fashion but three or more of the missiles would be replaced with torpedoes of about the same weight with shaped nuclear warheads.
A ranger would carry the gun pod, 20 box magazines and 10 of the stealth missiles, leaving only 19 pounds for other equipment.
In combat it takes three seconds for an infantryman to reach back, pull out a gun or missile and attach it to his hardpoint. It takes one additional second for the weapon to sync up with the battlesuit's computer. After this time the infantryman can aim and fire normally.
Replacing a box magazine is quicker and only requires three seconds, or less if a fast-draw roll is made.
For combine troopers modify the Infantryman template by removing Guns (Grenade Launcher) and reducing Guns(Needler) by one level as effective skill with battlesuit mounted weapons cannot exceed Battlesuit skill.
Add Gunner/TL9 (Guided Missile) (P/A) DX+1-13
and Gunner/TL9 (Rocket Launcher) (P/A) DX-12.
The template cost increases by 3 points.
Note that quite a few troopers buy up Gunner (Rocket Launcher) and off hand training with it.
Combine Tactical Deployment
Traditionally infantry have been forced to open up their formations and deploy over greater areas as weapons have increased in firepower and range. With the widespread deployment of tactical nuclear weapons this reached an extreme.
A Combine six-man battlesuited squad would be organized as three two-man pairs. The partners in any pair of troopers would keep within about 10 yards of each other on the battlefield. There would be a pair of troopers to the front left and then another pair about 50 yards to the right of the first pair and then the squad leader with the fifth trooper would be fifty yards from each of the front pairs, forming the rear point on an equilateral triangle and able to rush forwards to support either of the front pairs as needed.
For a 20-man, three-squad platoon, the leftmost pair of the second squad would be 50 yards to the right of the rightmost pair of the first squad and the third squad would be deployed behind and between the front two squads with the platoon sargent and lieutenant deploying where needed. The result was a rough triangle with sides of around 150 yards.
The theory was that when a trooper took a direct hit from a SATNUC skeet, only his buddy would suffer from the primary shockwave. The problem was that there seldom was only one SATNUC skeet exploding over a squad at any one time.
A company would typically deploy with a spacing of at least 250 or more yards between platoons and could typically hold a front of one to four miles against infiltration.
6mm Gun with shoulder stock
(Includes a Scan 11 boresighted PESA)
Gunner (Guided Missile)
(Includes a Scan 11 boresighted PESA)
(Includes a Scan 11 boresighted PESA)
(Note that SS, Acc and 1/2D apply to using the SNIPE as a direct fire weapon with Gunner (Rocket Launcher), beyond this range Gunner (Guided Missile) is used.)
SS: Note that the battlesuit weapons stats assume a HUD, reducing SS by 5. The non-battlesuit weapons are also usually targeted with a HUD which would reduce the figures given here by 5.
ST: A "B" indicates that the weapon is normally fired from a Battlesuit hardpoint and this is the minimum strength for a battlesuit arm to fire this weapon.
Max: These are the usual maximum ranges for the SNIPE missiles when fired on ground hugging evasive courses. Non-evasive is twice this.
LC for nuclear weapons is -1 as even most military forces would think twice about issuing these weapons to their troops.
SATNUCs can only be fired indirectly, as they require height to deploy properly. The bigger the shell or missile the greater the height required, but the single warhead SNIPE missiles could deploy their warheads from a height as low as 20 yards. (With a popup at the end of their flight.)
Infantry units of up to platoon size can synchronize their SNIPE missile launches and timing to achieve the same effect as a large shell delivering all the skeets at once, but this requires an extra second and successful Comm and Gunner (Guided Missile) skill rolls against the lowest skill levels n the group. Take the total number of missiles in the salvo that actually reach the target point after defensive fire and find the burst radius on the following table.
Resolve a SATNUC as a typical indirect fire mission to find where the center point of the burst winds up. Then for every target within the primary burst radius that does not have an IFF code recognized by the SATNUC warheads, sort them in the order of largest size to smallest and then by least to most aPSig defense bonus. For each target in turn, roll against the SATNUC TL(9) plus the size modifier of the target or less on three dice to make a lock-on. Stop rolling for lock-ons when all the targets have each been tested once or the total number of submunitions have found lock-ons. Then for each lock-on roll against the negative of the target's aPSig or less to avoid a direct hit.
Each target that suffers a direct hit takes 6dx2,000 damage to its top armor. BPC defends at 10 times DR (rather than DR squared) against this damage and ablates at only 1 point per 500 points of damage after resolving damage. Then apply normal explosion effects to every unit within the primary and secondary burst radii that did not suffer a direct hit.
A lieutenant in a command suit is talking with an two engineers and four rangers near a Superheavy Tank when a trio of hostile hypersmart missiles pop up over the horizon. There's a private in a standard suit 200 yards away who's supposed to be on overwatch but is instead playing a video game on his suit computer.
Two of the missiles are shot down, but the third manages to burst over the group.
A hypersmart missile has five submunitions, so the order of targeting is the Superheavy, then the engineers, then the command suit, and then the rangers (aPSig breaking the tie of all the suits being size modifier +1).
The first warhead needs to roll a 16 or less to lock-on to the Superheavy and it does. The Superheavy needs to roll 11 or less to decoy the warhead and with a 12 fails and takes 40,000 points of damage to its top armor, which fails to penetrate DR 5,000, but does reduce it by 80 points to DR 4,920.
The second warhead needs a 10 or less to lock on to the first engineer and with a 12 fails to find it so moves on the second engineer and with an 8 locks-on. The engineer has an aPSig of -8 and so needs to roll a 8 or less. With a roll of 9 the warhead is not fooled and the engineer takes 42,000 points of damage of which his DR 125 stops 1250 points of damage and so he moves on to that great construction project in the sky.
The third warhead locks-on to the Command suit, but with a roll of 9 against a aPSig of -9 is evaded.
The fourth warhead fails to lock-on to the first ranger but does lock-on to the second ranger but with a roll of 14 against an aPSig of -16 is evaded.
The fifth warhead locks onto the third ranger and is also evaded.
There are no further warheads so the fourth ranger is not directly targeted; he thus only has to deal with the shockwave like the other survivors.
The Superheavy tank just took 40,000 points of damage and masses 300 tons so needs to make a control roll at -8. The driver has skill 14 and rolls a 12, missing by 6. The tank has a SR of 7 and so this counts as a failure by zero or less. The tank veers from the impact and needs to roll an 11 or less or shed a track.
All of the battlesuited troopers except for the surviving engineer and the distracted private in the standard suit made their Battlesuit skill rolls to hit the dirt when they saw the final missile blossom and so count as prone against the shockwave.
The Command suit takes 4,200 points of explosion damage which bounces off his DR100, but it does toss him 8 hexes back and he avoids whiplash as his delta-V is only 16mph. (Similar effects occur for the rangers.)
The standing Engineer takes 3,800 points of explosion damage and because he is not braced or prone he gets tossed back 38 hexes and suffers 3d-6 whiplash damage. He needs to make a Battlesuit skill roll at -8 to keep his footing. (Rounding up on the Range/Speed table to find the penalty.)
The unaware private in the standard suit is only in the secondary burst radius and so only suffers 480 points of explosion damage, knocking him back 4 hexes and causing him to have to make a Battlesuit skill roll (at -2 for the distance thrown back) to keep his footing.
The crew in the Superheavy tank are completely shielded against radiation, but all the battlesuited troopers in the primary burst radius are going to clock up about 4 RADs.
The SNIPE missile carries a single SATNUC skeet, by GURPS Ogre this is 3.2 pounds, $10,000, 0.04cf with a "burst radius" of 48 yards.
Adding inertial guidance adds 1 pound, $10,000 and 0.02cf.
A 200 pound thrust booster solid rocket that burns for exactly one second weighs 0.6 pounds, takes up 0.006cf and costs $3.00.
A ramjet engine that delivers 10 pounds of vectored thrust weighs 1.5 pounds, takes up 0.03cf and costs $150.00.
The ramjet burns 1.25 gallons of jet fuel per hour so 15 seconds of fuel is 0.0052 gallons. A standard self sealing tank weighs 0.0052 pounds, takes up 0.0008cf and costs 3 cents. The jet fuel adds 0.034 pounds and 2 cents.
The total internal volume is 0.0968cf and the body has very good streamlining so the total volume of the missile is 0.12cf and a surface area of 1.46sf and its size modifier is -3.
An extra light advanced responsive robotic lifting body structure with very good streamlining weighs 0.41 pounds and costs $1,314.00.
DR 70 of BPC armor weighs 2.555 pounds and costs $255.50
Sealing adds $14.60.
TL11 Basic Emission Cloaking adds 0.73 pounds and $109.50.
The total weight is 10 pounds or 9.4 pounds after the rocket booster is discarded.
And the total price tag is $22,000.
On launch the rocket burns for one second and accelerates the missile to 400 mph, covering 100 yards in this time.
Then the ramjet takes over and accelerates at 21 mph/s for slightly under 7 seconds then maintains a speed of exactly 540 mph until burnout.
The Adr is 0.25 so the top speed under the ramjet is 547mph.
The stall speed under the ramjet is zero, but it can't go below 375mph without losing the ramjet thrust so it needs the booster rocket to get it going in the first place.
The aSR is 2.
The aMR is (TL9 +2 (responsive robotic) - (-3 size)) /2 or 7 and the lifting body shape lets it keep that so it can pull 7 Gs every second and it does, doing a preprogrammed 15 degree bend or pair of drifts every second so it can dodge.
If it flew in a straight line for the full 16 seconds it would cover over two miles before burnout, but all that dodging and weaving reduces the total range to a little over a mile.
The only control on the missile is a mounting hook that attaches to a launch tube or battlesuit hardpoint.
The rangers demanded a stealthier missile with longer range, that made it more costly and slightly heavier. The Stealth SNIPE missile has the same warhead as the normal SNIPE but the guidance is a Scan 8 passive radar (0.3 pounds, 0.006cf, $900, for terrain following) tied into a tiny hardened genius robot brain (0.75 pounds, 0.015cf $20,000, complexity 3, IQ 6, DX 9) running (Computer Navigation C2 $250, Datalink C1 $200, Map of battlefield C1 $500, RVO Piloting-12 C2 $4,000).
For propulsion the rangers insisted on not having a rocket flare give away their launching position so the engine is a light turbofan with 12 pounds of vectored thrust (2.24 pounds, 0.045cf, $336). It requires 0.18 gallons per hour and has one minute of fuel or 0.0027 gallons in a standard self-sealing tank (0.0027 pounds, 0.0004cf, 3 cents) of jet fuel (0.0176 pounds, 1 cent).
The total internal volume is 0.1064cf and very good streamlining gives a total body volume of 0.133cf and an area of 1.56sf.
An advanced, super-light, responsive, robotic lifting body structure with very good streamlining weighs 0.1755 pounds and costs $561.60.
70 points of BPC weighs 2.73 pounds and costs $273.00
Sealing adds $15.60.
Radical Emission Cloaking adds 1.56 pounds and $1,170.00.
For a total weight of 11 pounds and a cost of $38,200.
Adr is 0.26, top speed is 588mph. Stall speed without vectoring is 39mph so the aAccel is 8mph/s for the first second, then 15mph/s for the second second and 20 mph/s for the third second and at a speed of 43mph it gains full lift and accelerates at 21mph/s from the fourth second onwards, reaching 560mph 27 seconds into the flight and it maintains this speed for the remainder of the minute long flight which would carry it over seven miles in a straight flight, but because it is weaving back and forth every second its official range is only three miles.
Once hardpoints were added to Battlesuits, a gun was designed to fit into a weapon pod attached to a hardpoint so as to leave both hands free when reloading missiles.
The basic gun in the gun pod is a medium barrel low powered light automatic recoilless 6mm gauss gun firing APFSDSDU darts for 6dx3(3) damage at a ROF of 16. This is sufficient against battlesuits and missiles, but hopeless against vehicles.
Ranges are 1/2D: 920 yards, Max: 4,600 yards, Indirect Max: 11,500 yards. Acc is 13 +1 for the ammo.
Note that gauss and grav smallarms may be designed to fire only fin stabilized discarding sabot rounds if desired. Such weapons cannot fire non fin-stabilized ammo and they do not actually use sabots because the slots for the fins are built into the barrel. Gauss and grav cannon also do not use real sabots but have virtual sabotting or rifling that is turned on as needed by ammo type.
Base weight of the weapon is 5.4 pounds for a SS of 12, WPS is 246th of a pound each, a 1.3 pound box magazine therefore holds 160 rounds (10 turns of fire).
Loaded weapon weight is 6.7 pounds, 0.134 cf.
Full Stabilization adds 0.54 pounds, 0.01 cf and $54 to the gun.
The total internal volume is 0.144cf for a surface area of 1.65sf A light structure with advanced materials adds 0.93 pounds and $412.50 and has one hit point.
75 DR points of BPC then weighs 3.09 pounds and costs $309. Radical Emission Cloaking adds 1.65 pounds and $1,237 and sealing adds $16.50
So the total weight of the loaded pod is 13 pounds and the cost of the unloaded pod is $4,160 for the base gun plus $2,029 in extra gear gives a total pod cost of $6,189. (Siz -3, aPSig -17, MAD modifier -14 when firing).
Even the rangers couldn't improve on this gun, so they carry it also.
The ammo costs 39 cents per shot or $63 for a 160 round box magazine.
The power requirement (to be met by the battlesuit) is 12.2 kWs per shot times 16 shots per second or 73 kW. A typical load is 21 box magazines. Firing all of these would draw 41,000 kWs of power or less than one third of a standard battlesuit's weapons power cell.
The gun has no grip, handle or controls other than the mounting hook which attaches to the battlesuit's hardpoint. It is a BPC covered cylinder 10 inches in length and almost 3 inches in diameter. There are ports that open at the front and rear of the gun when it fires. The front port shoots out darts and pulls in cooling air that flows over the launch coils and is then forced out the back to exactly balance the recoil of each shot. The gun is aimed via the suit's HUDWAC that is tied into the targeting program in the suit's computer.
Note that the increased lengths for electromag guns at VE99 only applies to TL8 gauss guns . . . or did you think Ogre secondary batteries were actually 21 meters long?
The Combine rarely deployed non-battlesuited infantry, but did equip some client states to do so.
A top of the line non-battlesuited "rifleman" would be outfitted as follows:
Light Combat Armor with limited radiation protection and a built in HUD. 24 pounds and $1,450. Has PF200 and offers the following protection.
This suit is designed to save the trooper's life, in the SATNUC secondary burst radius, if he ducks and covers. (Note that Battlesuits are designed to survive in the SATNUC PRIMARY burst radius, but not against direct hits.)
A personal computer with a short range communicator with a scrambler that plugs into the helmet HUD and the gun. Complexity 3, one pound and $775.
Typical software is:
- IFF transponder software complexity one, $500 (uses scrambler).
- Datalink, complexity one, $200. (Uses scrambler to talk with squad
- computer and fiber optic cables to gun and HUD.)
- Targeting +4, complexity three, $2,000.
A shoulder stock version of the 6mm gun without the stabilization, armor or equipment pod, but with a HUD Sight and a 1 mile boresighted PESA. (Scan 11)
The total unloaded weight of the shoulder stock gun is 8.5 pounds and the loaded weight is 10.3 pounds for a minimum ST of 8. The total cost of the unloaded shoulder stock gun is $12,400 and it has SS 12 and Acc 12 with ammo.
The box magazines for these weapons include a rechargeable C cell for a total loaded weight of 1.8 pounds and loaded cost of $163 for each 160 round magazine. Five box magazines weigh nine pounds and cost $815.
A geiger counter. 1/4th pound and $100
Backpack with frame that contains the rest of his gear. 10 pounds and $100
Four replacement CBR filters (replace every 48 hours to keep the radioactive dust out.) 1 pound and $160
Two SNIPE missiles for his "MissileMen" buddies. 20 pounds and $44,000.
Shovel for digging trenches and graves. 6 pounds and $12.
Filtration Canteen, 1 pound and $175
16 assorted drug patches, 1 pound and around $1,000.
Total price tag less than $65,000 (2/3rds of that is the missiles.) Total weight is 82 pounds, or 43 pounds without the backpack.
The "MissileMan" variant replaces the gun with a shoulder firing launch tube for the SNIPE missile with HUD sight and 1 mile PESA. 12 pounds (unloaded) and $9,250.
MissileMen also carry a machine pistol. $350 and 3.5 pounds. Their computers are loaded with Fire Direction +4 in addition to Targeting. Complexity three, $4,000 (Only one C3 program is running at a time and it depends on range which is the better choice.) They also get to carry a third SNIPE missile.
Total price tag for the "MissileMan" is $86,000. Total weight is 90 pounds but only 51 pounds without the backpack. (But with a missile loaded.)
One trooper per six-man squad doesn't carry spare missiles or a shovel; instead he carries this:
Squad Battle Computer
Sealed Extra-Light frame of Very Expensive materials and PD 40 BPC containing:
- Medium Range communicator with scrambler and direction finder. 0.5 pounds, 0.01cf, $1750.
- 7 Mile PESA (Scan 16). 14 pounds, 0.28cf, $54,000.
- Level 16 surveillance sound detector. 1.6 pounds, 0.032cf, $800.
- Two foot sensor periscope for all of these. 3.2 pounds, 0.06cf, $11,310.
- (Used to peek over the top of the trench.)
- Small genius hardened computer, complexity 4. 3 pounds, 0.06cf, $50,000
- A C cell. 0.5 pounds, 0.01cf, $100 (Sufficient to run the box for a week.)
Total volume is 0.45cf, area is 3.5sf, frame is 1.3 pounds; $220. The armor is 2 pounds and $200. Sealing adds $35. The box has radical emission cloaking for 3.5 pounds and $2625.
Total weight is 29 pounds and cost is $121,000 plus software.
Typical programs are:
- Datalink (C1, $400)
- Fire Direction +5 (C4, $8,000)
- Vehicle Recognition Manual (C1, $500)
- Map of the battle region (C1, $500)
- Computer Navigation(C2, $250)
- Transmission Profiling(C3, $4,000)
The contacts located by the sensor tech would then be passed out to the other members of the squad huddled around him.
So the typical six man "Militia" squad is one sensor tech, three "Riflemen," and two "MissileMen." This makes for a total firepower of three to four guns and two launch tubes.
It is said that a platoon of three to four such squads can match the firepower (if not the survivability) of a Battlesuited squad for a fraction of the cost, if you don't count human lives.
For these "elite" Ogre fodder, add the following to the Militaman template:
Increase HT to 12 +10 points. Add Running (P/H; HT) HT-2 -10, Electronics Operation/TL9 (Comm) IQ-1 -11, Electronics Operation/TL9 (Sensors) IQ-1 -11, and Gunner (Guided Missile) (P/A) DX -11 for a total template cost of 60. (Though at least they get to play around with nukes now.)
Note that the running skill increases their base move to 7, minus 3 for heavy encumbrance leaves move 4 which is just over one GEV-scale hex every two GEV-scale turns.
Article publication date: April 25, 2003
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