Buffalo Hunters

Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Buffalo Hunters

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“Caimanera was safe ground, or so we thought. Then Major Noto was shot in the throat as he made his dawn inspection on the walls. The casualties really began to pile up after that – corporals, sergeants, rocket-gunners. Of the snipers we could find no sign. My helmet never left my head while my unit was there. I was leading a whole company by the time we left.”

Ashigaru-Lieutenant Jin Kitano, 2nd Ashigaru Infantry Regiment, 1st Army, Sword Army 8th Division ‘Hariken’, recounting his experiences during the Cuban campaign, 1871

Buffalo Hunter Artwork

Although the core of the FSA’s armed strength is its conventional military, there are many opportunities for freelancers to serve alongside regular units as hired help. Often, these men are given great deal of freedom of action by the commanders they are working alongside. Regular officers realise that such fighters are at their best when allowed to do things their own way.

The most common of these freelancers are the Buffalo Hunters, often originating from the many Native American tribes of the Great Plains. Operating in small teams often made up of close friends or relatives, these men are superlative trackers and infiltrators. They most often act as scouts and spies for regular units, locating and tracking enemy forces.

Though the huntsmen frequently work together, they are by their very nature adept survivalists, eminently skilled at living off the land even when operating entirely alone. They quickly familiarise themselves with whatever terrain they are fighting in, working with only minimal support in order to master the most extreme conditions.

When operating alongside the Federated States armed forces, these skills can be used in a more aggressive and dangerous manner. They are experts in laying cunningly disguised traps to catch unwary foes trying to advance on American positions.

Buffalo Hunters are brilliant survivalists

It is the combination of highly independent, yet co-ordinated actions that makes hunters so aggravatingly difficult for the enemy to pin down. All the while, the scouts keep a constant watch on their quarry, always ready to strike at a key target when the enemy is least expecting trouble.

When communicating with each other, or with their specialist liaison officers in regular army units, the hunters use traditional tribal languages and signs to create a ready-made code for intelligence transmissions, which is extremely difficult for an enemy to crack.

This is exacerbated by the fact that they are experts in stealth, misdirection and concealment, and can happily lead substantial numbers of enemy troops on a wild goose chase as they desperately attempt to corner the elusive scouts.

The hunters are also superb marksmen. Although in the past relying upon the traditional bow and arrows, the modern hunter usually favours a lightweight but very high-powered hunting rifle.

Buffalo Hunters are also superb marksman

These are often highly customised pieces, made to order for each individual hunter, and fearsomely accurate. The whiplash crack as they fire is the only warning their target has of the patient stalker who has been marking their path for so long.

The hunters’ skill with these weapons makes attempting to hunt the scouts down a deadly as well as frustrating business. But conversely, leaving them to roam free creates just as much of a lethal problem – a competent group of Buffalo Hunters can pin down an entire platoon if they can manage to keep the enemy off-balance or spooked.

Opponents are confounded and thrown into a panic by hails of bullets from unseen attackers which gun down officers and nail weapons specialists with frightening ease. However, when pressed, the hunters will not hesitate to attack at close quarters, ruthlessly silencing enemies with deadly melee weaponry. They are truly the eyes, ears and, when necessary blades of the Federated States’ armed forces.

Tactical Use
The Scouts and Buffalo Hunters are a much more subtle weapon in an American Commanders arsenal than the Federal Infantry. Although they are capable of sustaining a reasonable amount of firepower, their real strength is the ability to split their fire amongst multiple targets, allowing them to threaten multiple opposing Sections at once.

The eyes and ears of the Federated States of America Armed Forces

This is particularly deadly when used in conjunction with the Expert Hunter Game Card, which allows a Hunter to pick off a vital Sergeant or Specialist at a crucial moment. When pressed, they can even turn their Hunting Rifles on enemy Ironclads, although they lack the firepower to threaten more than Tankettes and lightly armoured Transports.

Their other main utility is in controlling the Game Board. The ability to lay traps which restrict how you opponent can move is particularly useful for covering vulnerable flanks, or covering the Federal Infantry whilst they fall back to a firing position.