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Heavy gunners are an important part of modern military tactics. Their general role in combat is to lay down suppressive fire - killing enemy soldiers is a bonus. A typical military unit will divide into a support element and an assault element. The assault element is smaller and often more "elite" than the support element, and is about one third to one fifth the size of the support element. The heavy gunners usually remain with the support element. The assult element attempts to ambush the enemy, or at least catch them in a pincer attack.
Machine guns usually assume a "keyhole" position, where heavy cover is present on both sides of the weapon. This restricts the angle of fire from the machine guns, but also protects them from incoming fire. Many officers believe this is an ideal compromise. Because machine gun units are slow and vulnerable, the officer must pay special attention to the machine gun's retreat route.
A typical squad (eight to ten soldiers) will have a light machine gunner, while a platoon (about seventeen soldiers) will also have a medium machine gunner. Their purpose is to lay down suppressive fire onto the enemy, preventing their movement, breaking their morale and killing them before the assault team can get into position. They stop just as the assult team strikes - hopefully the noise will have distracted the enemy too much to notice the assault team's ambush.
A medium machine gun unit consists of two soldiers - the heavy gunner himself, and an assistant whose primary purpose is to reload the weapon (saving the gunner that task). The assistant must also look out for stealthily approaching troops. A medium machine gun is too large for an single soldier to easily carry, and must be fired from a bipod.
In some military units, machine gun belts are distributed among the soldiers of the squad or platoon. Each soldier would carry one belt (not including the heavy gunners themselves, who might carry more).
Heavy Gunner (Strong Ordinary 3/Tough Ordinary 3): CR 5; Medium Humanoid (human); HD 3d8+3d10+12, hp 42, Mas 14; Init +1, Spd 25 ft; Def 21 (+1 Dex, +4 class, +6 tactical vest); BAB +5, Grap +7; Atk exotic weapon +6 ranged (varies); S/R 5ft./5 ft.; AL military unit; SV Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +3; AP 0, Rep +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 8.
- Occupation: Military (class skills: Climb, Knowledge (tactics); bonus feat: Personal Firearms Proficiency)
- Skills: Climb +0*, Drive +2, Hide -2 (+0 fatigues)*, Intimidate +2, Jump -1*, Knowledge (tactics) +5, Listen +1, Profession +5, Spot +4, Swim -7*, Survival +2, Treat Injury +2.
- Feats: Advanced Firearms Proficiency, Armor Proficiency (light, medium), Exotic Firearms Proficiency (choose one), Personal Firearms Proficiency.
- Possessions (heavy weapons):
M249 light machine gun (2d8 damage) with 3 belts of ammunition (200 rounds each) or M60 medium machine gun (2d10 damage) with 1000 rounds of ammunition (divided into 100 or 200 round belts) or M240 medium machine gun (2d10 damage) with 1000 rounds of ammunition (divided into 100 or 200 round belts) or rocket launcher with one or more rockets or grenade launcher with up to 8 launchable grenades.
- Possessions (standard):
Automatic rifle with illuminator, bayonet and attached grenade launcher with 6 frag grenades and 2 smoke grenades, 6 to 8 assault rifle magazines (30 rounds each) and small pistol, 2 to 3 magazines (15 rounds each), combat knife, tactical vest and kevlar helmet, fatigues and jacket, MOLLE backpack (with rain suit, mesh vest, first aid pouch, gas mask, squad-level radio, 2 canteens (1 quart), night vision goggles.
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