Heavy Weapons
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Basic Information

Broadly, Heavy Weapons are those that fall between the categories of Small Arms and Ordnance. They are usually served by a crew of two or more men and normally require disassembly to be moved, but are man-portable once disassembled. Heavy weapon crewmen will generally be issued a weapon in addition to the one that they crew - sometimes a lighter weapon than normal such as a carbine, but usually more than a pistol.

In most militaries heavy weapons remain an organic part of the units that they support, although in some cases specialist heavy weapons units are formed in addition to regular infantry (e.g. Machine Gun battalions) - historically, some armies segregated heavy weapon operators to some degree, even within infantry units.

Examples would be Medium Machine Guns, Heavy Machine Guns, Mortars and man-portable Guided Missile launchers. Some weapons such as General Purpose Machine Guns, light mortars and lighter anti-tank weapons hover on the lower boundary, as some historic weapons such as infantry guns do on the upper one.

For practical reasons, heavy weapons are a fairly modern invention - for a long time there wasn't much bridging the gap between man-portable weapons and ordnance, although weapons such as the wall piece and the arbalest probably qualify for the title.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Your PCs should encounter these rarely, and normally only as set dressing or plot obstacles and being hit by one should normally involve rolling up a new character, whilst they often take most of a party to carry and feed.
  • Segregation of heavy weapons crews could cause significant problems for some armies as it could prevent support weapons from being brought back on line following the loss of their initial crews - your unit will have a lot more firepower resilience if any of the men can jump behind an unmanned gun or mortar and bring it back into action than if you have to go and track down a survivor from the heavy weapons company.
  • Also, most governments take an extremely dim view of people other than their military owning these, let alone carrying or using them - if you seen private citizens in possession of heavy weapons the government is either very laissez-faire or largely impotent1.
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